When you first started driving, you likely learned the basics of what to do after a car accident. You know to call the local authorities, seek medical help if needed, and begin the insurance claims process.
However, many drivers do not know that they should avoid saying and doing certain things after an accident, both at the scene and afterward. In this blog, we provide a list of common things you may want to do or feel like you should do that you should avoid.
Your first instinct when interacting with another driver after an accident may be to apologize. While it’s natural to express regret that the other driver has been inconvenienced or injured, apologies are almost always seen as an admission of fault. Avoid apologizing or admitting that you did anything wrong since this admission could affect any settlement or personal injury suit in the future.
Communicate With the Other Drivers’ Insurer
After the accident, you may receive phone calls or letters from a representative of the other driver. Usually this representative is an insurer, but he or she may be an attorney instead. When this representative contacts you, instruct him or her to speak to your lawyer or your insurance company as appropriate. If they ask to interview you, do not agree to speak with them without a lawyer present.
Discuss the Accident on Social Media
Any statement you make on social media may be used to establish fault in the accident or undermine your injury claims. Avoid discussing the accident or your medical needs on a social media platform, even if only your friends can see your posts. Limit your social media use as much as possible until your claim is settled. Even pictures of you out with your friends could be used as evidence that your injuries are not as bad as you claim or that you are less responsible than you seem.
Ignore Your Medical Needs
If you are injured in the accident, seek immediate medical attention for your acute injuries. Request as much documentation of your injuries and the treatment you receive as possible to establish the severity of the damage. If you develop new injuries over time, take note of your symptoms and see a medical professional as soon as possible. Many car accident injuries appear days or even weeks after the incident, but they should all be considered in your claim.
Interfere With Law Enforcement Interviews
When law enforcement arrives at the scene of an accident, they usually interview each driver individually. Officers may even ask to interview any passengers out of earshot of the drivers. This separation is intended to ensure that no one changes their story based on the other driver’s interview. While the other driver is being interviewed, do not attempt to talk to the officer, eavesdrop, or discuss the accident with anyone else present on the scene.
Give Your Official Statement to an Insurer
During the claims process, you will be asked to give an official statement. Your official statement is recorded and referred back to until the claim is settled. As you talk to your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer, be clear that no information you provide constitutes an official statement. Do not give your official statement until your attorney advises you to do so.
Leave the Scene
Regardless of when or where your car accident occurs, do not leave the scene until instructed to do so by a law enforcement official. In Texas, if you do not stop your car after an accident or you leave the scene of an accident where injury or significant property damage occurred, your absence could result in criminal charges, regardless of who was at fault in the initial incident.
Pick a Fight
If the accident happened due to the negligence or recklessness of the other driver, the first emotion you may feel is anger or irritation. However, it is vital that you stay calm while at the scene of the accident. Not only could an angry outburst keep you from ensuring that everyone at the scene gets the care they need, but your misconduct could be considered during the claims process. Stay civil and avoid engaging in any kind of argument, even if provoked by the other driver.
Provide False or Approximate Information
After the accident, you could be interviewed by a number of individuals and organizations. For example, you may be interviewed at the scene by a police officer, asked questions by your insurer, required to go over the incident with your lawyer, and interviewed by the other driver’s insurer. During each of these interviews, stick to what you know for sure. Do not speculate or estimate anything. If you aren’t sure, say you don’t know.
Need more help navigating the car accident recovery process? Discuss your situation with a car accident lawyer from AMS Law Group to get professional advice based on the exact circumstances of your accident.