WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Most auto accidents are sudden and unexpected, which may lead to raw or unfiltered reactions from the victims involved. If you are involved in a car accident, think before you speak and act. Your statements and actions immediately following an accident may impact your legal options moving forward. In some extreme cases, a statement or action may jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
Knowing what not to say after a car accident is important. The shock of the accident may not have you thinking straight. Knowing what not to do after a car accident is also critical, especially in a chaotic setting. The easiest solution is to avoid unnecessary statements and actions immediately after the accident, but following some basic guidelines will ensure you do not hurt your personal injury case. Below is information about what not to say after a car accident and things to avoid doing after a car accident.
#1 – DO NOT LEAVE THE ACCIDENT SCENE TOO EARLY.
This highlights the list of what not to do after a car accident. In most cases, first responders will arrive on the scene to provide medical attention, gather information, and clear the accident scene. Generally, it is premature to leave the auto accident scene before the first responders’ arrive. Leaving an accident scene too early could be considered a crime, which can lead to criminal charges.
It is not recommended to leave immediately after first responders arrive. When the police arrive, you should document your side of the story, request a copy of the accident report, and collect the police officer’s contact information. If you have injuries, ensure the medical staff onsite evaluates you. Save any medical documentation given to you regarding your injuries. All of this information is important to document when filing an auto accident case.
At the accident scene, gather necessary information and evidence to use in your auto accident claim. An important practice after any car accident is to record all of the names and insurance information from the other drivers involved. Taking pictures of the entire accident scene and the vehicles involved are early ways to start assembling evidence. Make sure you also collect witness information. Once you leave an accident scene, you lose the opportunity to collect any early evidence and document important information.
#2 – DO NOT APOLOGIZE.
After suffering an auto accident, the first reaction for many drivers is to apologize for the accident. Generally the practice of saying “I’m sorry” is encouraged, because it demonstrates politeness. Yet, “I’m sorry” is a phrase that may indicate fault in an auto accident situation. Even if the apology is a genuine showing of fault, apologizing is what not to do after a car accident.
In some situations, the act you are apologizing for may not have been the cause of the accident. Even if you were texting while driving immediately before an accident, the other driver may have directly caused the collision by running a stop sign. For that reason, limit statements concerning the accident, especially apologies.
#3 – DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR PHYSICAL CONDITION IMMEDIATELY AFTER A CAR CRASH.
Even if you feel fine directly after an auto accident, you still may have suffered injuries. The shock of an accident may send adrenaline rushing through your body, which can mask any pain, aches, or discomfort. Even if there is no obvious pain, bleeding, or bruises, remember that auto accident injuries can take hours or days to reveal themselves. While it is acceptable to decline onsite treatment from emergency services, do not make any premature statements about your medical status. Even simple statements such as “I’m not hurt” or “I’m fine” may hurt an auto accident claim.
#4 – DON’T DISCUSS THE ACCIDENT WITH THE OTHER PARTY’S INSURANCE COMPANY OR LAWYER.
Shortly following a car crash, you may receive a phone call from the other party’s insurance company or attorney. These callers represent the other party’s interests and may try to convince you to prematurely settle, accept a minimal offer, or try to minimize the amount paid out. Avoid initially taking calls from anyone representing the other party in an auto accident. Refer these calls to your own attorney.
BUT DO CONTACT A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
As seen in the list above, there are several things to avoid doing after a car accident. Statements made or things done can negatively impact a future personal injury claim. According to FindLaw, the safest approach is to say as little as possible about the specifics of the accident. Being familiar with what not to do after a car accident is important. Speaking with a personal injury attorney immediately after an auto accident is helpful, because they can advise you on what not to say after a car accident.
Our legal team at Spear Greenfield has over 200 years of combined experience, so we can advise you on the things to do and not do following a car crash. In over 30 years of experience, we have seen plenty of auto accidents and helped our accident victims receive compensation for injuries and damages. We are here for you, so call us now! We offer free consultations for anyone who suffered a personal injury accident.