What Not to Do After a Car Accident: Common Mistakes to Avoid
Knowing what not to do after a car accident is equally important as knowing what actions you should take. Whenever a person is involved in an auto accident of any kind, the immediate aftermath and what they do during this time has a significant impact on any future accident claim- not to mention the physical and mental wellbeing of all involved.
Whether it is a case of a minor collision or a serious accident, there are several fundamental dos and don'ts that everyone should know. In this overview, details of what actions anyone who is involved in an accident should avoid are provided as general advice. To discuss a specific case, get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney at The Keating Firm LTD to arrange a free consultation.
Common Post-Accident Mistakes Car Accident Victims Make
Before looking at the specifics of what an involved driver should or should not do, it is worth knowing some of the biggest and most common mistakes people tend to make when they find themselves in this situation.
Of course, being involved in a car accident like a rear-end collision, is a scary thing, and it is perfectly normal to get confused and make mistakes in the time following. That said, it is essential to try to remain calm and think ahead if you want to protect yourself and get the legal outcome you hope for.
Learning from the mistakes of others has always been one of the most effective forms of education. Here are some of the things people often get wrong after a car crash that everyone should avoid as much as possible.
Giving Out Too Much Information
Swapping details is standard practice after an accident, but there is no need for much more conversation than that. Other than contact information and the details of relevant insurance adjusters, the involved parties should not be telling each other too much more.
It is impossible to know what one may say that comes back to bite them during the legal process, so it is better to say no more than is needed. All the information a person should be sharing at the scene of an accident is the absolute essentials.
Additionally, do not talk too much to other bystanders- witness statements play a large hand in an auto insurance claim. Involved parties should keep their thoughts to themselves as much as possible.
Failing to Gather Enough Information
On the other hand, some people completely fail to collect the information they need. Other than the other party's phone number and insurance provider, a lot of people leave the scene without so much as a single photograph.
If they plan to file a claim for property damage, they are likely to have a far more difficult legal case without substantial photographic evidence from the time and place of the incident. Anybody who is in a physical condition to take photographs should do so, but many people completely forget at the moment.
Forgetting to Assess Their Injuries
Even minor injuries can cause long-term problems- something that many people simply ignore. Many car accident victims are too concerned with the damage to their vehicle that they forget to check the damage to their person.
Yes, the state of the involved vehicles matters, but it is not more important than a person's health. Failing to address the level of injury is a big mistake to make. It can not only have a detrimental effect on somebody's wellbeing, but it could also mean a personal injury attorney is not contacted when they should be.
Waiting Too Long to Act
Without a doubt, the biggest mistake made by drivers who are involved in an auto accident is to wait far too long to do anything about it. They take too long to report the accident to the police or their insurance company, giving the other parties involved a head start on their claim.
Furthermore, they also wait far too long to seek legal advice, giving themselves ample opportunities to do various things on the list of what not to do. When they do eventually open a legal case, the claims process is made much more difficult.
Anyone who is in a car crash should contact a car accident attorney at the earliest possible convenience- before they do anything that could hurt their case!
Five Things Not To Do After a Car Accident
No matter what the level of the auto accident, there are five things that a person should never do. In a car accident, knowing what not to do can save a legal case and help a person achieve a fair settlement offer. On the other hand, those who do not know what they shouldn't do could end up limiting their legal options.
It is easy to get caught up in the moment, especially after a traumatic accident or car wreck, but these incidents are even more essential to handle correctly. Here are the five things not to do after a car accident.
Leave the Accident Scene
Arguably the worst thing a person could do immediately after a car accident is to leave the scene. They not only lose any chance at a personal injury or property damage claim, but they also break the law by failing to provide their insurance company information and personal contact details to the other driver.
Leaving the scene of a car accident turns it into a crime scene, and the legal case the driver may end up fighting is that of a hit and run felony.
Ignore or Underestimate Injuries
People should always seek medical treatment after a car accident, even if they do not think they are hurt. Emergency medical personnel are often called to the scene of an accident to provide medical attention to anyone who needs it- not only serious injuries.
Underestimating an injury and refusing medical assistance does nothing to help anyone. The individual may end up with life-long problems, unnecessary medical bills, and a much harder road to recovery. They may also miss out on contacting a personal injury lawyer soon enough after the car accident to get the best settlement offer.
If not immediately after the car accident, victims should get themselves checked by a medical professional in a timely manner to ensure their wellbeing. From a legal standpoint, these medical records are likely to play a vital part in any case put forward by a personal injury attorney.
Talk to Other Parties' Insurance Companies
Other than exchanging insurance information, a driver should never talk to the other party's insurance company. Insurance companies may reach out to opposing parties, but it is imperative not to respond. Speaking to an opposing insurance company alone without the assistance of an insurance adjuster or law firm leaves far too much room for error.
Remember, the goal of the other insurance company is to get the opposing party to settle for as little as possible- or as much as possible, depending on what side you are on. A car accident lawyer mediates the negotiations to ensure the best possible outcome for their client. Without them, insurance companies may try to take advantage of the situation.
Never sign any paperwork an opposing insurance company gives you: everything must go through the proper channels. Additionally, do not let them pressure you into agreeing to a settlement too quickly. It is likely to be very different from what it should be.
If someone is contacted by the other party's insurance company, they should refer them directly to their own insurance company or hired law firm for all further correspondence.
Admitting fault is the cardinal sin of car accident law. As the famous phrase goes: anything you say can and will be held against you! It is not always clear who the at-fault driver truly is, but in the heat of the moment, a person may feel guilty or admit fault unknowingly. Get that in a recorded statement, and the game is over.
There are a lot of people to talk to in the aftermath of a car accident, and many questions to answer. Parties should never speculate about why the accident occurred or say anything that indicates that they feel responsible. It may seem harsh, but they should not apologize to the other driver or mention anything they did that may or may not have caused the auto accident.
Insurance providers want to pin blame on the other drivers to avoid paying out and admitting fault makes this all too easy. A driver should always remember that they are likely not the only person feeling guilt or wondering if they did something wrong, and it is a bad idea to say anything about it out loud.
Some of the things people say after an accident are taken and twisted, even if they did not mean them as any kind of admission.
A classic example would be somebody who has crashed into the back of another car saying that they tried to slow down when they realized they would crash. In reality, the car in front may have been at fault for pulling into the wrong lane, driving unsafely, or any other number of reasons. However, their lawyer could say that the other car admitted to driving too fast since they tried to slow down at the last minute.
To be safe, people should say a little as they can and contact a lawyer a soon as possible who can take over the talking from there.
Withhold Information From Your Lawyer
Telling the car accident lawyer exactly what happened puts them in the best position to help the involved party. They are there to exercise the client's legal rights to the full extent they can and they are on their side all the way.
When hiring a law firm to provide a car accident lawyer, honesty is the best policy. They are not there to judge- only to help. Do not lie or try to hide anything: it only hinders the case.
Five Things You Should Do After a Car Accident
On the flip side, here are five things that a person should always do after a car accident. It is easier to avoid the don'ts when focusing on the dos, and knowing the difference is key.
Call 911 and File a Police Report
Law enforcement is going to find out about a car accident one way or another, and it is best if it comes straight from the horse's mouth. Filing an accident report with a police officer is beneficial on all fronts. It is helpful for the insurance company, the police officers, and the lawyer representing the case.
A police report is a valuable piece of evidence for anyone who is involved in a car accident, as it officially documents the events and statements from the views of both parties as well as their own summary based on the evidence.
It looks better for a legal case if the police are contacted immediately, so it is a good idea to be the one to make that call.
It is essential to collect contact information from the other party. Phone numbers, details of their insurance policy, and whatever else they are willing to share. At the very least, you need to be able to get in touch with their insurance company to begin processing a claim.
If the other party is resistant to sharing their information, call the police. Failure to provide relevant information after a motor vehicle accident can be classed as a crime. Both parties should willingly exchange relevant information to start things off on the right foot.
Anyone who is physically capable of doing so should gather evidence at the place of the accident before leaving. Take photographs of the entire scene, speak to witnesses and collect their contact details, and document the exact details as best as can be remembered.
Sometimes an involved party may have suffered a severe injury and is unable to collect evidence, in which case a relative or friend at the scene should take over, or at least ensure they get the details of the accident from the police.
Speak to Your Own Insurance Company
Getting in touch with one's insurance company is one of the first things anybody should do after an accident. When a vehicle is involved in an accident, the insurance company that covers it needs to know so they can prepare an adjuster.
They must also be ready to combat any claim that may come from the other person's insurance company, so a heads-up is always welcome.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Hiring an automobile accident attorney in Nashville makes the entire process of a car accident claim so much easier. Trying to do it alone can become overwhelming and is likely to end badly. Reaching out to arrange a free case evaluation should be one of the top priorities for anybody who has had an accident.
An attorney can walk a potential client through the ins and outs of their case. They can explain what personal injury claims they may be entitled to pursue as well as help them handle the insurance company.
Unlike a personal injury attorney, an insurance adjuster is just out to protect their bottom line, and it is easy to get swept away in the process.
Why Hire The Keating Firm LTD?
The Keating Firm LTD boasts some of the best legal minds in the business, with decades of car accident law experience between them. Our team is not only dedicated to providing the best service for our clients but also fighting for the best possible settlement agreements available under the law.
We offer a free consultation with zero obligation to anybody who requires it. At The Keating Firm LTD, we understand that the aftermath of a car accident is a difficult and worrying time, which is why we take everything on a case-by-case basis to provide personalized and professional service.
In summary, knowing what not to do after an accident can make or break a legal case. The key takeaways on what to avoid doing in the event of a car accident are:
Don't be a hero- seek medical treatment as soon as possible to avoid any long-term damage.
You do not know what caused the accident, so never admit fault or guilt.
Let the insurance companies deal with each other directly- do not answer any attempts at direct contact.
Leaving the accident scene without sharing your information is a crime, so just don't do it.
Never try to lie to or hide details from your lawyer- they are there to help but require honestly to do so to the best of their ability.
Do not forget to gather as much evidence as you can, but avoid giving out too many details to anybody else.
Fighting alone is difficult, so hire a car accident lawyer to help you through.
Contact The Keating Firm LTD for a free case evaluation or for any further information about what not to do after a car accident.