Things You Shouldn’t Do After A Car Accident
The moments immediately following a car accident can be stressful and confusing. You might be disoriented and full of adrenaline, and it may be difficult to make any sort of rational decision – this is normal. There’s a lot of information going around about what to do after you’ve been in an accident, but to keep things from going from bad to worse, there are certain things that you should absolutely avoid doing at all costs. An experienced attorney will be able to give you advice that pertains to your specific circumstances, but the following list is intended to help get you through the first few minutes after an accident when you often don’t have legal representation yet.
Don’t Admit Fault.
In normal, daily life, it’s common courtesy to say “I’m sorry” in situations where someone has been inconvenienced or hurt. In the world of auto accidents, however, apologizing can be seen as an admission of liability if the case ends up going to court. Even if you think you might have contributed to the accident, don’t apologize. The insurance companies and/or the courts will determine who’s at fault during the claims process. If you still want to be polite, it’s a good idea to ask the other driver if they’re ok.
Don’t Freak Out.
Yes, you may feel like you have to let off some steam after an accident, especially if you think that the other driver was at fault. Instead of getting into a screaming match, or worse, a physical altercation – take a few deep breaths. Losing your cool won’t help the situation, and will probably make it worse.
Don’t Leave The Scene.
Fleeing the scene after an accident is a crime – even if everyone seems like they’re okay. Don’t leave until you’ve been cleared to leave by law enforcement. In some jurisdictions like Las Vegas, police won’t come to the scene of an accident where there are no injuries and the cars aren’t blocking traffic. If this is the case in your area, it’s still important that you call 911 to report the accident, and the dispatcher will ask you a series of questions to determine whether they need to send law enforcement to the scene.
Don’t Leave Your Car In The Middle Of The Road.
If you can safely get your car to the nearest shoulder, you should do so. This will not only help prevent traffic jams, it’ll also get you out of harm’s way. Once you’ve pulled off the road, you can start getting the other driver’s information.
Don’t Leave Without Getting Witness Information.
Witnesses may be able to help piece together information about the accident in ways that you or the other driver won’t be able to do. Witnesses aren’t required to give you their information, but many will. It will save time and help you gather evidence in the event that you need to file a personal injury claim.
Don’t Talk To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company.
The “don’t” list doesn’t end after the initial shock of the accident wears off. If the other driver is insured, chances are they’ll try to contact you to get information about the accident. If this happens, don’t give them any details. Instead, tell them to contact your insurance company or lawyer.