Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so it’s not easy to know what to do after one. Being involved in a car accident is stressful enough, but not taking the right steps after an accident can make a bad situation even worse. So, as important as it is to know what to do, it’s just as important to know what not to do after a car accident.
Here’s What Not to do After a Car Accident
1. Leaving the Scene
Let’s say you got into an accident and there’s only minor damage, so you leave. It’s fine, right? By leaving the scene, you turn a minor accident into a crime. Regardless of whether you are at fault or not, it is illegal to flee the scene. If you are in a car accident, even if it’s a minor one, it’s important to stop the car and, if possible, move to the side of the road to avoid collisions.
2. Not Calling 911
Most people would assume you only need to call 911 when it’s an emergency, however, this is not true. You always have to call 911 when you are in an accident, even in minor ones.
The police can file an accident report and ensure that there will be a thorough write-up of what happened. They will investigate the accident, speak to witnesses, observe road conditions, and provide a report detailing everything that occurred and who was at fault. Police can ensure safety by helping with moving the cars to the side of the road, making sure no one is injured, informing those involved what to do next, and directing traffic to avoid more collisions.
3. Underestimating Your Injuries
It is better to be safe; if you or someone else has been injured in an accident, consider going to urgent care or the hospital for treatment. It’s important to seek medical attention after an accident even if you feel your injuries are minor. A medical care provider can make sure that you are okay and safe.
4. Admitting to Fault
Anything you say can be used against you. It’s normal to apologize and say sorry but you should never do this. For example, let’s say you’re rear-ended because the person behind you was speeding. You both pull to the side, and you say “I’m so sorry” even though it wasn’t your fault, but you genuinely feel bad because they may have gotten hurt from the accident. This may be an admission of guilt.
5. Forgetting to Exchange Information
So, you didn’t leave the scene, you pulled over, you called 911, now what should you do? After a car accident, you may be stressed and disoriented—this is normal—but it’s still important to get all personal and insurance information from everyone involved in the accident, including drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians.
The information you will need to collect includes:
- Phone numbers
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle registration number
- Auto insurance company
- Insurance policy number
The reason you need to exchange information is to file an auto accident insurance claim and to seek compensation from the auto insurance company for the driver at fault.
6. Not Gathering Evidence
If possible, gather evidence by taking photos with your phone or camera of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved. Also, take photos of the other vehicle’s license plate and any injuries. If any other witnesses stopped and are nearby, collect their information including names and contact information.
7. Don’t Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance Company
Avoid talking to the other party’s insurance company until you get a lawyer. If you don’t have an attorney, they can talk to you directly. Without an attorney, the insurance company may try to settle your claims with them for as little as possible. Immediately after an accident, you won’t know how much your claim is worth, it usually takes days.
8. Forgetting to Report Accident to Your Insurance Company
You should report your accident to your insurance company and file an accident claim to receive coverage. If you fail to report the accident in a timely manner, it may give your insurance company the right to deny your claim, depending on the policy.
9. Not Contacting an Attorney
A personal injury attorney will provide you with legal guidance on how to talk to another driver’s insurance company. They will also determine if you have a case to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can help you file an auto accident claim with your auto insurance company, help you collect evidence to support your case, talk to your insurance carrier and that of the other driver on your behalf, and fight for a fair car accident settlement.
Don’t Make the Mistake, Contact Foley & Small
Foley & Small are experienced personal injury lawyers who have handled car accidents and injury claims for over 30 years. We have helped drivers, passengers, and their families who were involved during this time. Our team works with our clients and their families by coordinating insurance and other coverage benefits, dealing with pay claims, and much more. Contact Foley & Small today, so we can help you.