Unfortunately, car accidents just happen – and always when you least expect them. A vehicle collision can set your world spinning, creating a whirlwind of chaos on you and others physically, mentally, or emotionally.
It is extremely stressful to go through, and sometimes very difficult to keep a level head. There are 10 important things below, however, that you should try to avoid after you are involved in a car accident.
Don’t Stay in Dangers Way If the accident is minor and interferes with traffic, move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. For serious accidents or if you are unable to move the car out of the road, turn on your hazard lights, and have passengers remain in the vehicle with their seat-belts on until emergency help arrives. If possible, use emergency flares, flashlights, safety cones, or warning triangles to help signal other drivers and prevent further collisions or harm.
Don’t Forget to Call 911 Be sure to call 911 to alert authorities of the accident. Report the accident and any person that is injured or needing urgent medical care. Even if the accident is minor and there are no injuries, it is important to call 911 so that the police will arrive and generate a police report. Police reports are used in accident claims with the insurance company.
Don’t Assume You Are Not Injured It is extremely common after an accident for people to feel like they are fine, and that they have no injuries. The problem with this is the adrenaline or shock from the impact can really hide injuries that often do not show up for some time after the accident. Major or minor injuries can also worsen over time, so it is very important to consult a healthcare professional and pay close attention to new symptoms that develop after any collision.
Don’t Say I’m Sorry or Admit Fault It is also very common for someone to feel like they need to apologize after an accident or accept part of the blame for the crash. This is a mistake and any time you admit fault it can be used against you when it is recorded by the other driver, the police or either of the insurance companies. You should never declare that you were at fault in any way and contact an attorney, otherwise it could affect your claim and any compensation for your personal injury or property damages.
Don’t Lose Your Temper With the adrenaline rushing after a crash, it is not always easy to stay calm and collected. The worst thing you can do is lose your temper and become aggressive or confrontational with the other parties involved. It can create problems and issues later as it becomes more difficult to justify a claim, even if you were not at fault in the accident. If the other parties are verbally or physically aggressive with you, make sure to stay rational and calm while documenting everything. Then report it to the police when you record your statement.
Don’t Fail to Get Photos & Write Down Details As you wait for police to reach you or before leaving the scene of the accident, make sure you take photos of the area, as well as both vehicles. Jot down as much information as you can about the accident. Collect contact information for everyone involved in the accident and take a moment to generate your own summary on what you experienced with time, date, and accident details. Also reach out to any witnesses and see if you can obtain a statement from them. It can be as easy as recording a voice memo or using the notepad from your phone, especially when paper and pen are not available. Gathering vital information while you are at the scene can be very important if you or the other party file a lawsuit, or when reporting to the insurance company.
Don’t Forget to Report to Your Insurance Company After an accident, be sure to contact your insurance company within 24 hours. Whether you believe you are at fault or not, you need to make your insurance company is aware. Not doing so could be a violation of their terms and result in cancellation of your policy or denied coverage.
Don’t Speak to the Other Party’s Insurance Company A very important tip after an accident is never speak to the other party’s insurance company without a lawyer. Do not record any statements, give any details, or offer any other type of leverage that the opposing insurance company can use against you. They will try to obtain evidence to place some or all of the blame on you. Notify them that they will need to speak with your attorney and get in touch with your legal team to make sure they are aware.
Don’t Share on Social Media Social networks have become a primary way to communicate. Unfortunately, anything online can be used as evidence. For the duration of your case, it is important to avoid social media networks. Chat sessions, videos, pictures, and even text messages, are all things that opposing parties can look for or monitor to discredit your injuries and substantiate their side of the case. The key is to avoid saying or posting anything that can damage your case – and sometimes we do not realize we are even doing it.
Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Care A major mistake that many people make after a car accident is not consulting a doctor. Car accident injuries are not always obvious, especially after impact where adrenaline and shock can mask symptoms. Some conditions develop well after or worsen over time even. There are a lot of tough victims out there, too, with the mind frame that they will heal on their own. As important as it is for your health and well being, if you still choose not to see a doctor or continue your medical treatment it can damage your case, as well as deny compensation you could be due.
Our hope is that you’ll never have to experience anything like this. Car accidents are damaging in so many ways causing so much stress, frustration, and pain. Be sure to take these tips into consideration after a collision which can help you through the chaos. Always feel free to reach out to our team at Galindo Law if you have any questions at all regarding your case. We’re always here to help!