Nearly 3 million people are injured in car crashes every single year in the United States. But while car accident cases are incredibly common, that doesn’t mean you can go on autopilot when you’ve been involved in one. Between the adrenaline overload and your state of shock, it can be easy to make a costly mistake. If you become a car accident victim, remember to avoid these five don’ts.
If you’re in an accident, don’t ever…
It’s probably your first impulse, but resist the urge to say you’re sorry to the other driver, emergency personnel, or police officers. Even if you’re simply expressing sympathy, that declaration can be construed as taking blame for what occurred. Any car accident attorney will tell you that when speaking to anyone else involved, do not apologize in any way. Try to stay calm and simply state what happened without putting blame on yourself. Otherwise, you may pay the price later on if you’re taken to court.
- Leave the scene
One particularly important piece of legal advice is that if you’ve been in an accident, you should not leave the scene under any circumstances unless it’s okayed by police. Regardless of whether the crash was a serious one or it was a simple fender bender, you still need to remain on the scene until told otherwise. If you don’t, you could be charged with a crime (in some cases, fleeing the scene is considered a felony). Take that time to document what you can and give your statement to police.
- Refuse medical help
It’s very common for people in car accidents to believe they haven’t been injured until later on. It is possible that you won’t be harmed in an accident, but it’s better not to take a chance with your health. Refusing medical attention means that you won’t have your injuries documented. That can make it much more difficult later on for your car accident lawyers to file a claim. In most cases, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t want to ride in the ambulance, at least schedule an appointment with your personal physician right away to make sure everything is okay.
- Talk to the other driver’s insurance company
Many times, the other driver’s insurance company or car accident attorney will attempt to contact you regarding the accident. Do not engage with them unless your car accident lawyers are present. These parties are not working in your best interests, so anything you say to them will likely stand to hurt you in the long run. You should also consult your lawyer before accepting any kind of settlement offered.
- Neglect to hire car accident lawyers
Ultimately, your attorney is your ally. Just like any personal injury case, you won’t want to try to navigate your accident claim alone. Car accident lawyers are your best source of information and can help you decide what course of action to take. If you don’t have legal representation, you may find yourself in trouble in court or taking a much lower settlement payout than you deserve. Hiring an attorney will allow you to protect yourself and will ensure your rights are protected.
Although car accidents can be frightening, most of us will be involved in one at some point during our lives. If and when you are involved in a crash, be sure to avoid these don’ts. That way, even when you can’t control what happens during a crash, you’ll at least be able to control some of what happens afterward.