Things You Should Not Do After A Car Accident
Ferguson & Ferguson
Attorneys at Law
July 10th, 2017
Hopefully you will never find yourself in a car accident but unfortunately it is likely at some point during your lifetime. On average, there are 6 million car accidents in America on a yearly basis. Around 90 people die daily when something goes wrong behind the wheel. There are things that you can do when you are involved in a car accident to prevent serious injury, help others that might be involved and to make sure everything goes smoothly in terms of insurance. The majority of car accidents are not usually life threatening but they are still pretty scary and can affect your life in other ways. If you ever find yourself crashing into another car/person or being crashed into, there are some things you should definitely NOT do.
Things NOT To Do When You Are In A Car Accident
1. Leave the scene
Leaving the immediate vicinity when you are involved in an accident could have dire consequences for all involved. If nobody is injured at first glance, you might be tempted to drive away and forget the whole thing ever happened. This event can be a big dampener on your day but think of it like purchasing a car polish. It’s something that has to be done for the good of you, anyone else involved and your car itself. Even if you experience a “bump” more than an actual car accident, you should always stop and do certain things. You can get arrested if you are involved in a car accident and leave without following the proper measures. Even if you and the other person doesn’t seem to have suffered too much, some things can be hiding under the surface and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Another reason why you need to stick around after a car accident is because you don’t know what kind of person the other driver is. They could call the police after you leave the scene and completely exaggerate what has happened in an attempt to get a big insurance payout. Sticking around really ensures that you can get the truth across.
2. Apologize or take the blame
Anything you say in the moments following a car accident could be used against you at a future date so it is really better to say as little as possible in regards to the incident itself. While you want to make sure the person in the other car is OK, do not apologize for the incident or say anything that shows you could be taking the blame for what happened. Even if the accident was your fault, this is for the police to decide so be sure to keep quiet unless you are asked direct questions by authorities. If you take the blame in any way, this could basically be used against you in a court of law and you could be left with a hefty bill.
3. Forget to document the scene
Before the police arrive at the scene of the car accident, it’s important that you do all you can to document what has happened yourself. Use whatever means you have to hand to record the scene including your phone, camera and anything else that might be useful later on. Be sure to take up close and far away photos of any vehicles involved at different angles and the road itself. If the other person protests about you taking photos of their vehicle, do it anyway because it is the right thing to do legally at that moment. When the police show up, they might mess up the area unintentionally so it’s important you have evidence of how the scene appeared right after the incident occurred. Remember that it is always better to record too much than too little in this type of situation to have your own back!
4. Forget to call police
An accident is an accident no matter how small it might seem at first, so it’s vital that you contact the police straight away. Whether you simply forget to call the police or you are avoiding doing so because you are scared, don’t let it happen! It does not matter if you are not injured, an ambulance may not be necessary – but a police car always is. Even if you feel what happened was your fault, it’s better to get the police involved now rather than later. All car accidents are recorded and by filling out a statement with the authorities, you might be saving yourself some money further down the line. When yourself and the other person involved have their say about what happened, it gives a much clearer picture and means less stress for you in the long term.
5. Avoid getting medical attention
You do not have to have a hundred cuts and bruises or a bleeding head to be “injured”. Many injuries are internal and no pain is experienced at all, concussion can be deadly and it is not visible to the naked eye. While keeping that in mind, you should get yourself checked out by medical professionals no matter how fine you feel after a car accident. Not only is this important for your health to take this measure, having your injuries documented could help in the legal side of things further down the line.
6. Forget to exchange insurance information
Your insurance company and the other person’ involved insurance company will need full details of the car accident, so it is VITAL that you swap insurance details. After a few weeks/months, the insurance companies will decide who has to pay what in regards to the accident and having all the information they need, will help them make this decision quicker. If you don’t have your details to hand immediately following the event, you will usually have 24 hours to provide all the information that is needed. In addition to insurance details, also make sure that you take the driver’s license plate number, full name, phone number and address. If the driver is not being cooperative with you face to face, they can give this information to the insurance company or the police themselves.
7. Lose your temper
In such a heated situation, it can be easy to lose your cool with the other driver especially if they were at fault or have caused you/your vehicle injury, but please don’t do this. Getting angry isn’t going to help the situation and definitely not your case if claims need to be made due to this incident. If you do feel yourself getting hot under the collar with the other driver, simply stay in your vehicle and wait for the police to arrive. You never know what type of person you are dealing with so confronting them over whatever fault you think they are at, could be dangerous for you. A car accident is already a bad situation to find yourself in so the last thing you want is to make it even worse.
Now that you know the ins and outs of what should and shouldn’t be done in the event of a car accident, you should find yourself in a more knowledgeable situation should the event ever arise. Being smart and doing the right thing at such a stressful moment isn’t always easy but it’s really important that you do so for your own benefit.