Car accidents are unpredictable and they happen fast. In the aftermath, injuries and trauma can cloud one’s rational thinking. It is extremely important to know what steps to take immediately after the accident. But it is just as important to know what NOT to do.
1. DON’T LEAVE THE SCENE
This seems like common sense, but hit and runs happen frequently. Legally, you are obligated to stop if you’ve been in an accident. Failure to do so could lead to serious criminal charges if anyone was injured. Besides, you‘ll need to exchange insurance information with the other parties involved, take photos of the scene, and speak with the police officer making the accident report. Speaking of. . .
2. DON’T FORGET TO CALL 911
This goes for both minor fender benders and 10 car pile ups. If there has been any sort of accident, you’ll want the police to come make a report. In some states, not reporting an accident can be considered an offense. Plus, the police officer wasn’t in the accident and isn’t experiencing the same intense emotions as you, so they are able to better document details you might forget, like the weather, road conditions, witnesses, etc. In this way, a police report can help strengthen a property damage or personal injury claim.
3. DON’T ADMIT FAULT
Even if it was obviously your fault, do not admit so and do not profusely apologize. Remain calm, help others in need, and wait for the authorities to arrive and make a report. Do be honest when giving a statement to the police, but avoid phrases like “It was all my fault”. Such statements may damage any potential insurance claim.
4. DON’T LOSE YOUR TEMPER
When someone puts you and your family in harm’s way, it is easy to let your emotions get the best of you. But getting angry is not productive or helpful in the aftermath of an accident. Don’t be aggressive or confront any of the other parties involved.
5. DON’T REFUSE OR NEGLECT MEDICAL TREATMENT
Injuries sustained from a car accident have a sneaky way of going undetected, only to pop up a few days, weeks, or months later. It is best to be seen by a medical professional right away, whether that is a paramedic on the scene, your primary care doctor, or a trip to the hospital in an ambulance. The most important thing is your health and well-being. But keep in mind that if you intend on pursuing a personal injury claim, you’ll need medical records proving you sought treatment.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call a skilled car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts. They can help you decide what to do, and what not to do.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into car accident cases.