Car accidents can be traumatic and life changing experiences. Although there are a lot of things you might want to do immediately after a car accident such as informing your insurance company, seeking medical assistance, and contacting an attorney, there are a few things you must avoid doing. Let’s discover 3 things that you should not do after a car accident.
Abandoning the Scene
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, your judgement is likely to be clouded. Although you might feel tempted to flee as a way of protecting yourself, this tactic is rarely successful. Leaving the scene can instead lead to negative consequences. For example, any observant witnesses or other drivers are likely to take note of your physical description as well as that of your vehicle. Furthermore, CCTV cameras as well as dashcam footage can also be used to locate your identity and whereabouts.
Above all, you should never leave the scene of a car accident. State laws often dictate that anyone who has been in a car accident involving injury to a person, death, or property damage must immediately stop their vehicle. Doing so is a legal obligation and failing to stop could lead to being charged with a crime. Instead, call 911 and wait until police officers arrive to take a police report. Any necessary medical assistance can then be sent to the scene.
Declining to Hire an Attorney
If you have been involved in a car accident where anyone was injured or serious property damage occurred, you should consider hiring a lawyer to protect your legal rights. Sometimes people involved in car accidents are tempted to file a lawsuit on their own. This is known as ‘pro se’ litigation. If for financial reasons, you cannot afford to pay for the services of a lawyer, filing a lawsuit on your own can seem like a valid solution. However, pro se litigants are typically more likely to make costly mistakes in court due to their inexperience in comparison to qualified lawyers.
Car accident lawsuits can often involve complicated legal claims. For this reason, a lawyer can help you to understand the legal process while representing your interests in court. Car accident attorneys have specialized skills and training and possess a thorough knowledge of the legal system, and so, as with any legal matter, speaking to an expert such as Kaplan Lawyers first is almost always in your best interests.
While after a car accident it can be tempting to admit fault, doing so can be used against you later both in court and by insurance companies. When speaking to the police or an insurance provider be as factual as possible and do not share any opinions. The scene of an accident is not the proper time for making these kinds of determinations. Instead, fault should be determined in court.
To be extra careful, it can also be sensible to avoid saying sorry or apologizing. Whereas compassion can come naturally straight after a car accident, an apologetic statement can be taken out of context as an admission of responsibility. This can complicate matters if another driver was found to be at fault. Apologetic words and behavior can imply the assumption of fault, so you must avoid being undeservedly blamed for the mistakes of others.
Ultimately, your next steps after a car accident are crucial. Avoiding common mistakes can help you to protect yourself, your recovery, and even lead to better legal outcomes. Looking after your car can greatly reduce your risk of being involved in a car accident. Take a look at this guide to being a safer car owner to find out more.