At some point, you will likely find yourself dazed and confused after being in a car accident. Whether it is a major collision or just a minor fender bender, it is important that you know how to react, what steps to take, and what steps not to take. Car accidents can do more than just dampen your day—they can cost you extensive amounts of money, time, and frustration. All of these factors are even more serious if you have suffered an injury.
So what should you make sure you DON’T do following your car accident?
1. Leave Without Exchanging Adequate Information
We know that it can be stressful to be in a car accident, especially when you have suffered serious injuries. If you weren’t immediately taken away for medical attention, make sure you exchange proper information with the other driver. This includes insurance information, phone numbers, email addresses, and any other relevant information. Also, try to get contact information from any witnesses that may be able to provide insight on what happened in the accident. Even if you think you have enough information, make sure you get more than you need to be on the safe side.
2. Admit Fault, Apologize, or Accept Blame
While you may feel emotional in the moment, never apologize to the other driver or passengers involved—even if you believe you shared some of the blame. It is easy to get confused and feel guilty after an accident, regardless of who really caused it. If the other driver is blaming you, make sure to keep your cool. Stay level-headed, only communicating with the other driver to make sure they are ok and then to exchange information. If they try to discuss what happened or get heated, simply step away from the conversation.
3. Forget to Call Police to the Scene & Wait
Even in cases where only seemingly minor damage and injuries occurred, make sure you call the police. This will help ensure an official report is filed regarding the accident. You can later request that this report be used in court if it is helpful to your case. This also ensures that the other driver exchange the proper information with you. If the police are called, wait for them to arrive. While this may seem like common sense, it could easily slip your mind after the confusion of the accident. Even if you have already exchanged information with the other driver, never leave if you know or think the police may be on their way. If you are gone when they arrive, it could lead to hit-and-run accusations, even if you didn’t cause the incident.
4. Avoid Getting Immediate Medical Care or Attention
Just a flesh wound? Despite how minor you think your injuries are after a car accident, make sure you follow up with your doctor to get a proper medical assessment. Some injuries won’t show any symptoms until days or even weeks after your accident, making it important to have a professional review your health and condition early on. If you notice any pain, aches, or symptoms later on, be sure to visit your doctor again to check up on your health. Proper documentation of your injuries will be crucial when trying to settle a claim with insurance companies.
5. Jump on the First Settlement Offer Without Counsel
After all the chaos of the accident, it may be extremely tempting to accept the first deal the other driver’s insurance company offers. If you don’t have an attorney on your side, you could easily be low-balled by the insurance company. This means you deserve much more compensation then they are offering, however, they are trying to take advantage of the fact that you likely don’t know typical laws regarding car accidents. When injuries are involved, insurance companies rarely take in to account all the future medical expenses and pain and suffering you may face. That is why seeking a reliable advocate to review your case and handle insurance negotiations can be extremely beneficial.
At FVF, LLP, our Austin car accident lawyers can help you recover the financial deserved compensation. Call us to discuss your case!