Being involved in a serious car accident is an overwhelming experience that can leave victims feeling shaken, frightened, and confused.
However, while grappling with all of these intense emotions, crash victims must pull themselves together and avoid doing anything that could potentially jeopardize future insurance claims or lawsuits.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, the following “don'ts” should top your list of things to avoid.
Leave the Scene
Some people mistakenly believe that if an accident and its related injuries are minor, they can simply leave the scene. This absolutely isn't the case. Many states, including Texas, require motorists to stop their vehicles after accidents involving injuries, property damage, or deaths. Anyone who flees the scene of a car accident risk being charged with a crime.
Forget to Call the Police
Even when injuries and property damages are minor, it's wise to call and report the car accident to law enforcement. After alerting the authorities, be sure to stay on the scene until the officials arrive and complete a police report. These reports often include valuable information about the accident, such as witness names and contact information, and road and weather conditions at the time of the crash.
Fail to Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Waiting too long to report the accident to your insurance company can potentially result in the denial of your claim. Don't give your insurance company any excuse to deny the compensation you deserve. Report the accident as soon as possible and be honest with the details.
Lose Your Temper
Emotions tend to run high after a car accident. However, while giving the driver of the other vehicle a piece of your mind may feel like the right thing to do, it isn't. Losing your temper or intimidating the other motorists or passengers can quickly take the situation from bad to worse. Don't do it. If you have to, employ breathing or counting exercises to help keep your cool.
Apologize or Admit Fault
Apologizing after a mishap is second nature for some people, but it can be extremely detrimental to the outcome of an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Don't apologize or admit fault to anyone at the accident scene—especially to other drivers or their insurance adjusters—as these statements might be used against you later.
Wait to Seek Medical Attention
The longer you wait to seek medical attention after a car accident, the easier it is for insurance adjusters or defense attorneys to claim your injuries weren't serious. Seeing a doctor immediately after a car crash lets you get all of your injuries on the record, so the at-fault party's insurance adjuster or defense attorney can't try to claim they were caused by something else.
Fail to Document the Accident Scene and Injuries
Road and weather conditions at the scene of the wreck can change dramatically after an accident, putting valuable evidence at risk of being lost. Don't let evidence you need to prove your case disappear. If you're able, take photos of the scene, your injuries, and property damage to the involved vehicle, or ask for help doing this. If there were witnesses to the crash, make sure you or someone else can get their names and contact information.
Talk to the Insurance Company or Accept an Early Settlement Offer
After the accident, you won't be the only one containing an insurance provider. However, if an insurance adjuster from the other driver's insurance company asks to speak with you, requests a written or recorded statement, or makes a settlement offer at the scene, you can and should decline until you consult with an attorney.
Try to Handle the Claim or Case Yourself
If you were injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you may be eligible for compensation. However, simply trusting the system to do right by you can have serious consequences. Having the representation of an experienced car accident attorney ensures accident victims have someone to look out for their interests.
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer You Can Trust?
Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a free initial analysis of your car accident case. Our award-winning attorneys can help you fight for the financial recovery you deserve.