What NOT to Do After a Car Accident

What NOT to Do After a Car AccidentThe immediate aftermath of a car accident can be a whirlwind of emotions and confusion. Between checking for injuries, dealing with the damage to your vehicle, and facing the disruption to your life, it’s easy to overlook important steps that can affect your rights and potential compensation. Following is a breakdown of the key things to avoid after a car accident.

Leaving the scene

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to never leave the scene of an accident, even if the damage appears minor and there are no visible injuries. Leaving the scene can be considered a hit-and-run offense, resulting in serious legal consequences like license suspension or even jail time.

Failing to call 911

Calling 911 is essential, regardless of the severity of the accident. The police will file an official report, documenting the accident details, witness statements, and injuries sustained. This report becomes an essential piece of evidence in case you need to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action.

Admitting fault or accepting blame

In the shock of the moment, you might be tempted to apologize or take responsibility for the accident. However, avoid making any statements that could be construed as an admission of fault. Stick to the facts and simply explain what happened from your perspective.

Discussing the accident with anyone other than your lawyer and your insurance company

While you might want to vent to friends, family, or even on social media, resist the urge to discuss the accident details with anyone outside of law enforcement and your personal injury attorney. Anything you say can be misconstrued or used against you later.

Dealing with the other driver’s insurance company without representation

Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing payouts. The other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you to get a statement or settle for a low amount. Don’t be pressured into talking to them without first consulting with your car accident attorney. At Glisson Law, we can advise you on what to say and ensure your rights are protected.

Not seeking medical attention (even if you feel fine):

Adrenaline can mask injuries after an accident. It’s essential to seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel any immediate pain. This creates a documented record of any injuries you sustained, which strengthens your case if you need to file a claim.

Failing to document the scene

Pictures are valuable evidence, especially in car accident cases. If possible, take photos of the following:

  • The damage to all vehicles involved, from multiple angles
  • The accident scene, including skid marks, debris, and traffic signals
  • Any visible injuries you sustained (once it’s safe to do so)

Moving your vehicle (unless it’s unsafe to remain)

Leave your vehicle in the position it came to rest after the accident, unless it’s blocking traffic or poses a safety hazard. The location of the vehicles can be crucial evidence in determining fault. Only move your car if instructed to do so by law enforcement.

Failing to document your losses

Following an accident, keep all paperwork related to the incident organized. This includes:

  • The police report
  • Medical bills and records
  • Mechanic estimates for car repairs
  • Proof of lost wages (if applicable)
  • Any communication from insurance companies

Signing documents from the other driver’s insurance company without understanding them

Never sign any documents from the other driver’s insurance company unless you fully understand the terms. These documents could be a release of liability or a settlement offer. Take your time, read carefully, and consult with your car accident lawyer before signing anything.

Don’t post about the accident on social media

Social media posts can be used against you in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Avoid posting anything about the accident, including pictures of the damage or your injuries.

By following these “don’ts” and taking proactive steps like seeking medical attention and gathering evidence, you can significantly improve your chances of a successful insurance claim or legal case.

Remember, after a car accident:

  • Your safety is the top priority. Always check for injuries and call 911 if needed.
  • Document everything. Pictures, videos, and witness statements can be invaluable evidence.
  • Don’t discuss the accident with anyone other than law enforcement and your insurance company.
  • Seek legal counsel early on. An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Take the right steps forward

While these “don’ts” provide a list of things to avoid, here are some proactive steps you can take to ensure a smoother claims process:

  • Contact your insurance company immediately: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. They will guide you through their claims process and advise you on next steps.
  • Exchange information with the other driver: Collect the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance details. Get the make, model, and license plate number of their vehicle as well.
  • File a police report: Even for minor accidents, filing a police report creates an official record of the event. This report can be crucial evidence later on.
  • Keep track of expenses: Maintain detailed records of all accident-related expenses, including medical bills, car repairs, rental car fees, and lost wages. These records will be necessary if you need to file a claim.
  • Consult with a car accident attorney: At Glisson Law, our skilled car accident attorneys can advise you on your legal rights and options. We can handle communication with insurance companies, negotiate settlements, and represent you in court if necessary.

Understanding common insurance tactics

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and their primary goal is to minimize payouts. Here are some common tactics they may use:

  • Offering a low settlement: The initial settlement offer may be significantly lower than the compensation you deserve. An attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
  • Denying your claim: Insurance companies may deny your claim altogether if they believe you were partially or fully at fault for the accident. A lawyer can fight for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
  • Requesting recorded statements: Be wary of recorded statements with the other driver’s insurance company. Your words may be taken out of context and used against you.

Our car accident attorneys can help you handle these tactics and ensure you’re not taken advantage of by the insurance company.

At Glisson Law, you don’t have to handle the aftermath of a car accident alone. Protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation. Contact our experienced car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We’ll fight for what you deserve. Call our offices or fill out our contact form today. Our Alton-based car crash attorneys proudly serve Belleville, Edwardsville, Springfield, Madison, St. Clair Counties, and all of Southwestern Illinois and Missouri.