As an experienced driver, you know which important actions to take immediately following an accident, like calling 911 and getting the other driver’s information. Do you know the common mistakes that can have a negative impact on the outcome of your claim if you file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver? Knowing what not to do can increase the chances that your claim will have a successful outcome. An experienced car accident lawyer can assist you with the claims process and address all of your questions and concerns.
What Should I Not Do After a Car Accident?
There are approximately six million car accidents in the United States each year, and many of those involve injuries ranging in severity from minor cuts and scrapes to broken bones and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). All too often, car accidents also cause tragic fatalities. Whether the accident is a minor fender bender or a serious collision involving multiple vehicles, it is important that you do not make the following mistakes:
- Leaving the scene of the accident. You are legally required to remain at the scene until police arrive. You must also check on the other driver and exchange contact information, driver’s license number and insurance information. If you flee the scene, it is an automatic misdemeanor. You could face more serious charges, including steep fines or jail time, if there were serious injuries or fatalities involved.
- You do not call 911. It is a common misconception that you do not need to call 911 if there were no injuries involved. However, that is not true. It is important to call 911 immediately following the accident so that a police officer can arrive at the scene, investigate the details of the accident, talk to witnesses, and establish who was at fault for causing the accident. This information will be included in a police report, which can be used as evidence if a motorist files a personal injury claim.
- Failing to exchange information. In the moments immediately following a car accident, it is common to feel stressed, overwhelmed and confused about what to do next. However, it is very important that you exchange contact information, driver’s license and registrations numbers and your license plate number. It is particularly important that you exchange insurance information, including the name of the insurance company and the policy numbers.
- You admit fault. Even if you did not cause the accident, your immediate reaction may be to say, “I’m so sorry, are you ok?” However, even that simple statement can be used against you and interpreted as an admission of fault. You can ask the other driver if they are hurt, but keep the conversation to a minimum, and do not apologize.
- You do not get immediate medical attention. Oftentimes, the shock of the car accident can cause adrenaline to course through your body. If you suffered any injuries, the adrenaline can mask some of the pain and other symptoms of an injury. As a result, you may think that your injuries are minor, and that they do not warrant going to the emergency room. However, by avoiding getting medical treatment, the injury could become more serious. In addition, if you file a personal injury claim, the other motorist’s insurance agent may argue that your injuries must not be very serious if you did not bother getting medical treatment immediately following the accident. This can have a negative impact on your claim.
- Failing to collect evidence. The more evidence you are able to gather from the scene of the accident, the more information you will be able to provide to the police officer and your insurance agent. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicles and your injuries, as well as any debris or skid marks on the road. If there were witnesses, ask if they would be willing to provide a statement and ask for their contact information.
- You speak to the other driver’s insurance agent without an attorney. If you get a call from the other driver’s insurance company, it is in your best interest to avoid talking to that person without a lawyer present. Insurance companies will use a range of tactics to pay you as little money as possible, including using your own words against you.
- Failing to notify your own insurance company. You are required to contact your insurance company if you are involved in a car accident. If you fail to do so, your insurance company may deny you coverage. In addition, if you wait too long to contact your insurance company – or you file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, you will be unable to file a claim.
- Posting information about the accident on social media. Even a seemingly innocent comment or photo that you post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter can be used against you. For example, if you suffered a broken arm from the accident, and you post a picture of yourself out to dinner with friends the day after the accident, the other driver’s insurance company will check you social media accounts and argue that your injury must not be very serious if you felt well enough to go out to dinner so soon after the accident.
- You do not contact a skilled car accident lawyer. It is highly recommended that you hire an experienced car accident lawyer if you were injured in a car accident. Having a dedicated car accident on your side will ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you reach a financial settlement that you would not be able to obtain on your own.
Dayton Car Accident Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Help Clients Navigate the Claims Process
If you were injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact the Dayton car accident lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC. Our dedicated legal team will ensure that your legal rights are protected as we assist you with every step of the claims process. We will address all of your questions and concerns and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 937-222-7477 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Dayton, Ohio, where we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.