Even though there are millions of car accidents each year, many people don’t talk about what you should do if you’re actually involved in one. What you do after your accident is vital to your case.
After you get into a car accident, it can be hard to keep your head on straight. You may feel stressed, scared, and full of adrenaline. While it can be difficult, it’s important to keep your cool. Here are seven things that you should never do after you’re involved in a car accident.
1. Never Leave the Scene Too Soon
Whether you’re at fault or not, you should never leave the scene without exchanging information with the other involved parties. If you’re not at fault for your accident and you leave the scene without getting the information of the other party, you won’t have any way of filing a lawsuit against them.
This is often why parties attempt to flee the scene, as they don’t want to be sued or caught by the police. If you aren’t at fault, there’s no reason you should leave the scene.
2. Don’t Forget to Call 911 or the Police
Some people believe that you don’t need to contact the police if no one is hurt or if there isn’t significant property damage. However, this isn’t true. While you may not be legally required to contact the police, doing so is important for your future lawsuit. Some injuries can be delayed, meaning you won’t experience symptoms right away.
While you may appear to be uninjured immediately after the accident, you could wind up having serious or even fatal injuries that you didn’t know about at the time.
Having a police report establishes your story and the at-fault party’s story from the beginning. If there are witnesses present, the police will speak to them as well. A police report with witness statements on your side is strong evidence in your favor.
3. Do Not Forget to Document Your Accident
The more evidence you can gather right after your accident, the better. You should always take pictures, videos, and voice memos to help you remember everything that happened. This will also help you keep your story straight so you don’t forget any important details along the way.
Pictures can showcase how an accident happened. For example, if the at-fault party’s car has skid marks behind it, they likely came to an abrupt stop because they were speeding.
Without this documentation, it may still be possible to win your case, but documenting as much as you can at the beginning will help make the process easier.
4. Don’t Admit Fault
You should always be honest about what happened after a car accident, but you should avoid saying things like, “It was all my fault,” or “I’m sorry,” as they put all of the blame on you, when you may not have been at fault at all.
It’s human nature to apologize, but in general, you should avoid speaking with the at-fault party or their insurance company without an attorney present. You should also be cautious about any conversations you have about the accident. Anyone can be called a witness, so keep your mouth shut when it comes to fault.
5. Never Speak to an Insurance Company Without an Attorney
Insurance companies are known for lowballing victims of car accidents. They will try to get you to settle for the least amount of money possible. Insurance companies often do this by talking to victims right after their accidents when they’re feeling the most vulnerable.
They may try to get you to sign away your right to file a lawsuit in exchange for an incredibly low settlement. It’s important that you don’t take this offer or even speak to them without an attorney. You may think that your damages are low right after the accident, but your damages may increase as time goes on—especially if you suffered from a severe injury (such as TBI or spinal cord injury).
These types of injuries often require long-term care, and therefore your damages will build up over time. Accepting a low upfront settlement will prevent you from receiving money for future damages.
6. Don’t File a Lawsuit on Your Own
If you have high damages or severe injuries (or both), you should never file a lawsuit on your own. Insurance companies will try and trick you into settling for a little as possible, but a talented car accident attorney will be able to get you the compensation that you deserve.
You should only file a lawsuit on your own if you have low damages and minor injuries. Even then, an attorney may still be able to help.
7. Never Accept a Low Settlement
The first settlement offer that you get will always be low. You should never accept the first offer you receive, whether you’re working alone or with an attorney. Your attorney will advise you of when they think it’s a good idea to settle, likely after a few rounds of back and forth negotiation.
Negotiation may take a long time, but it’s worth it in the end, as you’ll receive a much larger settlement.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, please contact our talented team of attorneys. We will help guide you, making sure that you don’t make any of these mistakes along the way.
We have years of experience receiving high settlement offers for our clients, and we’re ready to do the same for you. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at 727-571-1333.