There is plenty of advice on the Internet about what to do after you are in a car accident, but the amount of information available that warns against what you should not do is surprisingly lacking. The first thing you should do after an accident is make sure that you and your passengers are not injured and to get medical assistance for those who are hurt. But once the injured are attended to, there are several things you should not do when the accident is over.
For most people, the first instinct after a car crash is to try to deflect some of the anger the situation creates by apologizing for any part they may or may not have had in making the accident happen. After an accident is over, you should make sure no one is hurt but never offer an apology. Your apology could be used by the other driver as an admission of guilt if the case goes to court, and that could cost you big time.
If your claim gets ugly, then a police report could be a critical piece of evidence. If you leave before the police arrive to take a statement, you will not have that critical piece of evidence on your side. The other problem with leaving before the police arrive is that you could be charged with a hit and run, and that could mean jail time in some parts of the country.
As soon as the other person involved in the accident files a claim with their insurance company, that insurance company will call you to try and negotiate a settlement. This could happen as quickly as the next day, which would be before you have had any chance to determine if you have sustained any long-term injuries. Never negotiate with the insurance companies on your own, and never consider an insurance company's offer until you have had a chance to gather all of your information first.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you have a lot of adrenaline pumping through your body potentially masking injuries. The first thing you should do after you have been in any car accident is go to a doctor to get checked out. You should also do follow-up appointments a week and a month after your accident to see if there are any lingering injuries or effects. Refusing medical treatment after your injury can be a bad decision for your potential personal injury case, and your long-term health.
Aside from checking on everyone in the other car to make sure they are not in need of medical assistance, you should avoid having a conversation with the other party at all costs. Anything you say regarding the accident could come back to haunt you and could cost you a lot of money. The only time you should discuss the accident is with your attorney and in court.
If you make rash decisions after an auto accident, then you may be financially responsible for any medical issues that occur as a result of that accident. It is important to know what to do and what not to do after an accident if you want to make sure that your side of the event is represented properly.