3 Things You Should Never Do After a Car Accident
Most of us probably feel we're very safe drivers. But considering there are approximately 5.5 million car accidents in the U.S. each year, there's a fairly good chance that you might be involved in some sort of collision while driving during your lifetime.
Although you may not be able to control another driver's behavior and prevent their negligence, there are steps you can take to mitigate any negative effects that result from a car crash. In today's post, we're sharing three things you should never do right after an accident. Not only will avoiding these scenarios help keep you safe, but it will also ensure your rights will be protected.
DON'T... Leave the Scene
This is basic car accident knowledge, but you might be surprised by how many drivers flee the site of an accident due to fear or even ignorance. Even if the accident doesn't appear to be serious or your car is driveable, you need to stop your vehicle in a safe manner and assess the situation.
In most cases, it's recommended that you file a police report to maintain a record of the incident, which will require you to remain at the scene. This will also allow you to exchange insurance information with the other driver and document any damage to your car. Keep in mind that even if you worry about being held legally responsible for the accident, you need to stay at the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident can result in a misdemeanor or even a felony charge, so it's much better to deal with the details of the accident when it occurs rather than trying to run away.
DON'T... Apologize or Admit Fault
For many people involved in an accident, their first instinct might be to tell the other driver that they're sorry. It's human nature to empathize, particularly if you feel your behavior might be at-fault for injuring another person or damaging their property. But in this case, it's best to not say more than necessary.
Even if you're simply expressing your sympathy and not taking blame for the accident, your apologies could be misconstrued and potentially used against you later. As strange as it may seem, compassion should not be your first priority here. Your main concern should be to protect yourself. You can ask the other driver if they're okay or need medical attention, but when discussing the details of the accident with them, with law enforcement, or with an insurance adjuster, you should be careful not to apologize or accept fault in any way.
DON'T... Neglect Medical or Legal Help
Any accident is going to come with a rush of adrenaline, which can make you believe you haven't been injured. But even if you don't feel like you were hurt in an accident, it's important to seek out medical attention as soon as possible. You may opt to see your personal physician rather than go to the hospital, in some cases. But if medical personnel are imploring you to get checked out, you should follow their advice.
Whether you think your own negligence was to blame for the accident or you don't feel the damage was substantial enough to warrant a claim, you should still speak with a lawyer following a car accident. While not every case warrants hiring an attorney, you might be surprised by the costs associated with injuries and property damage. If you speak with a lawyer from the onset, they can help to evaluate the situation and determine whether it makes sense to move forward with your case.
By staying at the scene, avoiding apologies, and remembering to speak with a lawyer and seek out medical attention following an accident, you'll be in a better position to protect yourself. To speak with a lawyer or schedule a consultation, please contact our offices today.