When you’ve been involved in a car accident caused by another driver, a lot can happen all at once, and it’s easy to find yourself completely overwhelmed with what to do next. But before you make any rash decisions, there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind, so you can start getting back to a state of normalcy.
Don’t: leave the scene early.
Do: stay at the scene and get a police report.
Leaving the scene early not only prevents you from getting the documentation you might need for an accident case, but it could also result in civil or criminal consequences. Having a police report can help make things much easier in terms of sorting out the details and liability. Plus, you may be required to call the police, especially if someone has been injured.
Don’t: leave it up to others to document the accident.
Do: take photos and collect documents of the accident.
If you’re not seriously injured after the crash (and only if you’re able to), try to document all the evidence you can from the accident scene. Of course, a police report is helpful with documenting everything, but having your own documentation can help with little details that may go unnoticed in the process. The more documentation, the better.
Don’t: volunteer any unnecessary information.
Do: give the facts only.
When it comes to making statements and answering questions at the scene of the accident, it’s a good rule of thumb to stick to the facts and withhold any information that isn’t absolutely necessary to reveal after the incident. If the other driver was at fault and you want to file an accident case, sharing information that doesn’t directly pertain to the accident may be held against you later down the line.
Don’t: admit liability.
Do: wait to speak to a lawyer about your rights.
Similar to the previous point, it is not advised to admit liability at the scene of the accident. There are many factors that may have caused the accident and it’s better that you wait until speaking to a lawyer about what your rights are before proceeding with anything.
Don’t: try to settle anything at the scene.
Do: consider speaking to a personal injury attorney before taking any immediate actions.
If the other driver is at fault for the accident, they may try to find a way to blame a portion of the accident on you, or they may try to entice you with a settlement or bribe for not pressing charges or going through with a lawsuit. Or, his or her insurance company may try to contact you right away and offer you a seemingly large settlement amount that might not even come close to the amount of money that you’ll need for repairs, physical therapy, medications and more. It’s best to consult a personal injury attorney for the best steps to take in your individual situation.