16 Things Not to Do After a Car AccidentLast updated on: November 30, 2022
No one ever wants to get into a car crash, but with over 200 million drivers on the road, the chances that you will be involved in an auto accident at some point in your life are very high. The aftermath of an auto accident is often overwhelming and stressful, but what you do immediately after a car crash can be extremely important to your health, safety, and any potential personal injury claim you may have.
Because it’s difficult to stay calm after a frightening accident, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with the actions you should take after a car wreck before one happens. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group for a free case consultation.
Driving Away From the Car Wreck
Never simply drive away from a car wreck, no matter who was at fault. If you were at fault, driving away is considered a criminal act, and hit and runs could cost you your license and will cause problems with your car insurance. If you were not at fault, you may think that you have been in a minor accident and you do not need to pursue anything from the other driver, but you will not be able to tell the extent of damage to your car or possible injuries immediately, and you will need the information of the other driver in order to exchange insurance information.
Not Calling 911
Always call 911 after a car accident. Of course, if anyone is hurt, medical services need to reach them as soon as possible. But you should call 911 even if no one is injured in order to bring police to the scene.
Police could be important for any personal injury claim because they provide an objective witness to the situation and circumstances of the accident. If you are unable to rely on the other party to make factual statements, the police statements and police report are a valuable insight into the facts of the accident. Make sure to obtain a copy of the police report for your accident.
Forgetting to Collect Information
You and the other party in the accident need to exchange information in order to begin the insurance claim process, so be sure not to forget to collect it from them.
Neglecting the Aftermath
It might be tempting to get home as soon as possible after a car accident, which is understandable. However, make sure to check in with yourself and your surroundings before brushing off the idea that you might need intervention somehow. Make sure that you are not injured and that your car is alright to drive home, if you plan on driving it.
Not Documenting the Car Accident Properly
A personal injury claim depends on the facts of what happened to prove fault. Because of this, it’s extremely important to document the details of the car accident as thoroughly as possible. Take pictures of the damage to your car as well as the surrounding area or anything else that was involved in the car accident (such as ice on the road or a missing stop sign.) As said above, make sure to get a copy of the police report. Once you are seeking repairs or medical attention, be sure to get copies of all bills and records.
Procrastinating on Reporting the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Both your insurance company and your state will have various rules on how soon you must report an accident to them, but no matter where you are or who your insurance provider is, sooner is always better. Insurance claims can take a long time, and you want to keep your insurance company updated in order to make the process as swift as possible.
Losing Your Cool
Emotions are probably running high after a car accident, but no matter what, do not become argumentative or blame the other driver. That will accomplish nothing but might lead to a bad situation, and you never want to say something in anger that you will regret. Instead, remain calm and speak to the other driver rationally.
Talking to the Other Party’s Insurance Company Without a Lawyer
Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out claims whenever they come up—they would turn no profit. Insurance companies want to deny or reduce your claim as much as possible, and have trained their agents to communicate with accident victims in order to accomplish this. You should never speak to the insurance company of another party without a lawyer, because lawyers will know how best to communicate with an insurance company while safeguarding your claim.
Underestimating How Badly You’ve Been Hurt
You may feel fine at the scene of a crash, or not have any visible injuries, but you shouldn’t underestimate the extent of your injuries. Really be honest with yourself about how you feel and search for any possible symptoms, as serious conditions like concussions can go unnoticed to disastrous results. If you or someone else involved in the crash starts experiencing injury symptoms, seek medical attention as soon possible, especially in the case of a concussion.
Decline to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Not hiring a car accident lawyer leaves you to pursue your claim on your own, greatly diminishing your chance of success. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you through the process of pursuing your claim, whether from an insurance company or as a personal injury lawsuit, so you can keep your focus on recovering from your accident.
File a Lawsuit on Your Own
Filing a lawsuit without a lawyer is extremely complicated. Personal injury laws regarding car accidents are different in every state, and the legal system is extremely complex with various technicalities on jurisdiction, filing deadlines, and rules about what can be included in a claim. If you have a lawyer file your lawsuit you won’t have to worry about it being dismissed on a technicality such as filing it at the wrong court or stating your claim incorrectly.
Post Anything About the Accident on Social Media
Both insurance companies and opposing counsel will be eager to introduce any evidence possible to help their clients and win their case, and social media could provide them with ammunition even when you feel your posts are innocuous. Even if your social media is private, if there is information on it about the accident your private pages could be asked for in discovery and you may have to turn them over.
Anything you say about the accident on social media risks being used by the opposing party—if you speak too much about it, they could argue that you are not really emotionally affected because you talk at length; if you mention details of the cause of the crash, they can argue that you caused it; even if you want to reassure your friends and family that you are doing okay, that could throw doubt on your claims of being injured in the eyes of the opposing party’s counsel.
Entering into Unfair Settlement Agreement
You should never sign any kind of agreement offered to you by the opposing party without your lawyer first reading it and explaining the consequences. This is especially important soon after a car accident because you might not know the extent of the damage or injury that has occurred as a result; you need to have a full picture of what has happened to you to determine if a settlement is a good option for you or not.
Never accept fault for the car crash, even if it is just verbally at the scene of the accident—this could be disastrous for your claim. Don’t try to talk out what might have happened or take the blame in order to spare the feelings of someone else. While you shouldn’t assign blame for a car accident, don’t accept fault in your conversations with anyone, especially insurance providers.
Get Help From Zinda Law Group Today
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, contact Zinda Law Group today for a free case consultation. The experienced car accident attorneys of Zinda Law Group have a No-Win, No-Fee Guarantee, meaning that unless you receive a settlement, you won’t pay anything, allowing you to focus on recovering and moving on from your car accident without worrying about your legal representation.