What Not to do After a Car Crash
At the time of an accident, it is normal to feel nervous and panic about what might happen next. You may wonder: Will the damage be covered by insurance? Is anyone injured? Was it my fault?
If you’re involved in one of the nearly 6 million traffic collisions that happen per year in the U.S., remember to stay calm. Luckily, most of these crashes are minor. Sometimes, however, a crash is severe and causes injuries to drivers and passengers. How you respond to the situation can impact whether you’re able to receive the compensation you deserve.
Keep these 5 tips as a reminder of what not to do after a car crash:
- Fleeing the Scene
Regardless of how harmless an accident appears, you’re required by law to check on the other driver, exchange information, and contact law enforcement. If any property damage or injuries have been inflicted, it is an automatic misdemeanor to leave the scene of an accident. Depending on the scenario, fleeing could also be punishable by fines or even jail time.
- Avoiding the Police
No matter how the accident unfolds, it’s important to call the police and file a report. Police will often investigate the crash after it occurs, observe road conditions, speak to witnesses, and then issue a report which details how the accident occurred and who was at fault. The report can be a crucial component to any case that may result from the crash. Having a report on file will speed up the claims process and create crucial documentation in the case of long-term injury or any automobile troubles.
- Failing to Collect Information
After an accident, remember to:
- Take photos of the scene and the cars involved
- Note the name, address, phone number, and driver’s license of the other driver
- Document the other driver’s car insurance company and policy number
- Record the full names of any passengers involved
- Gather contact information for the police officer filing the report
- Waiting to go to the Doctor
Accidents can be traumatic and you may not know you have a serious injury right away. You may hope that your injuries are minor and that you will feel better later. Unfortunately, most injuries worsen after an accident rather than improve. Visit the emergency room or your physician sooner rather than later. It is also critical to visit the doctor quickly following a crash to prove that your injuries were caused by accident.
- Speaking to the Insurance Adjuster
While an insurance adjuster — either from your own insurance company or the other driver(s) — may contact you for a statement, it’s important to understand that you do not have to give them a statement before you’ve spoken with an experienced legal team. Insurance adjusters are out to represent the insurance company’s interests and pay you as little money as possible, and anything you say to them could be used against you later.
Car crashes are difficult and sometimes can be very complex cases. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car crash, our experienced team of attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. are here to help. For a free consultation, contact us today.