Whether you’re traveling and you’re in an accident, or you’re at home, the last thing you want to do is deal with being in a car accident. Unfortunately, car accidents are the reality sometimes, both when you’re traveling and when you’re not.
There are some things you should do after a car accident, but sometimes it’s even more important to understand what not to do after a car accident.
These are the worst things you can do following an accident that occurs in any situation.
Leaving the Scene
Let’s say you’re traveling, you’re in an accident in an unfamiliar place, and you leave the scene. What can happen?
Depending on the situation and where you are, you could ultimately be arrested and charged with some pretty serious crimes.
If you knowingly leave the scene of an accident without even providing your contact information, you will likely be prosecuted.
If you are in an accident, don’t make any rash decisions. Stay calm, get to a safe place, and exchange information with the other driver.
Not Contacting the Police
If you’re in a minor accident and you don’t think it’s worth calling the police over, you might be making a mistake. You should always contact the police after any accident, no matter how minor it seems.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, the police if they respond to the scene, can help make sure all information between involved parties is properly exchanged. They can determine whether laws were broken and they can collect witness information.
These are all things you may need later on as you’re dealing with insurance.
If the police don’t think it’s necessary to respond to your scene of accident , they’ll tell you that. You can also file a police report on your own, which again is smart to do because you may end up needing it.
Being in a car accident, even if no one is hurt, can be nerve-wracking. You might be rambling out of nervousness or saying things that can later hurt you without realizing it.
One of the biggest mistakes people make at the scene of the accident is admitting fault.
If the police come to the scene of your accident, and you admit fault or even do something like apologizing, they’re likely to include that in their report.
You might say you’re at fault or apologize just to be polite when you aren’t actually liable for the accident.
Say as little as possible at the scene of any car accident. It’s certainly possible to be polite without implicating yourself.
Not Exchanging Information
If you don’t exchange information or don’t exchange all the necessary information with the other driver, it can be very problematic.
You need insurance information from the other driver, for example. This includes the name of their insurance company but also their policy number.
The accident and damages will be handled through the insurance company.
Along with insurance information, you need to exchange at a minimum names, addresses, and your vehicle’s registration number.
If you don’t get the necessary information, it’s possible that you could be left footing the bill for your injuries and damages, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Along with exchanging information, a big mistake people make after an accident is not getting other evidence that they might eventually need regarding the accident. For example, you want to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident, and you want photos of the scene of the accident.
Underestimating the Extent of Your Injuries
Right after you’re in an accident, emotions are high, and you’re probably experiencing a rush of adrenaline as well. You may have injuries that are masked by the adrenaline, or perhaps injuries that you don’t yet have symptoms of.
You could tell the police you don’t have any injuries, which will be documented in the police report.
You may be putting yourself at risk medically if you don’t get checked out after an accident, and an insurance company can eventually use it against you.
Finally, settling an accident claim without at least consulting with an attorney can be problematic. Insurance companies will sometimes even try to get you to sign what’s called a quick-hit release. This means they’ll offer a minimal amount of money and the payment of what they describe as reasonable medical bills.
This is not something you should sign without talking to an attorney because if you do end up having more medical expenses, you’ll have no option aside from paying them yourself.