Thousands of motor vehicle accidents happen every single day in the United States. These accidents can happen to you or a loved one in the blink of an eye, at no fault of your own.
Getting into an auto accident can be stressful, especially if you or someone else in your vehicle has been injured. Taking the first crucial steps necessary to report your accident and seek help for injuries is important—and so is knowing what not to do.
At Florin|Roebig law firm, our award-winning car accident attorneys are committed to getting our clients the compensation they may be owed after an accident. If you or a loved one has been in a motor vehicle accident, avoid doing the following:
1. Driving Away
Leaving the scene of an accident after getting into a car crash is a crime. If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to first stop and assess the situation—even if you don’t believe any harm’s been done.
Failing to stop at the accident scene and offer aid to others involved in the accident can be punishable as a misdemeanor or felony charge.
2. Forgetting To Collect Information
After getting into a motor vehicle accident, don’t forget to get the personal and insurance information of all others involved in the accident. This includes other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians.
Collect the following information:
- phone number
- driver’s license number
- vehicle registration number
- the name of their auto insurance company and policy number(s)
Many people are disoriented after getting into a crash. This is normal. However, you’ll need to exchange information with other involved motorists for two reasons. First, in order to file an auto accident insurance claim with your insurance adjuster. Second, to seek compensation from the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver.
If there are any witnesses to the accident, consider exchanging information with them as well. Having more than yourself to attest to your version of events may prove useful if the at-fault driver or their auto insurance company is uncooperative.
3. Deciding Not To Call 9-1-1
Ensuring your safety and that of others involved in the accident is the number one priority after getting into an auto accident. If you or someone else has been seriously injured, call 9-1-1 right away.
If you’re unsure whether someone’s injury is serious, but they appear to be very dizzy, out of it, or going in and out of consciousness—play it safe and call for emergency medical attention. Leaving serious injuries untreated may cause the injury to worsen, risking permanent injury or death.
4. Leaving Without Contacting The Police
Even in instances of minor accidents, contacting local authorities to report the accident may be necessary to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. Any broken car parts or shrapnel left in the road could pose a hazard to others.
Furthermore, getting a police officer on scene to file an accident report can also offer clarity and help ensure there is a thorough write-up of what happened. Having a police report can be useful for collecting contact information and having details about the accident on an official record.
In addition, if the accident is severe enough to have caused any injury or vehicle damage, neglecting to call the police to report the accident may be punishable by law.
5. Underestimating How Bad You’ve Been Hurt
When health and safety is on the line, it’s better to get checked out by a doctor after an accident as soon as possible. If you or someone else has been left with noticeable injuries after a crash, consider going to an urgent care center or hospital to get treated.
Otherwise, reach out to your primary physician to get a physical assessment right away. Not all car accident injuries are noticeable right away, but may become worse if left untreated. Whiplash and head injuries, for instance, may not always show major symptoms until hours or days after an accident.
In addition, your insurance adjuster may require that you seek medical treatment within a certain amount of time after an accident in order to have your expenses eligible for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
6. Admitting Fault
Many people who get into an accident feel the need to apologize and accept some percentage of fault for the crash, regardless of whether that’s the case. This is a mistake.
Any declaration of fault can be used against you if caught on record by the police, the other driver, or either of your insurance companies. This may affect whether you’re able to receive compensation for personal injury and property damage coverage, and the amount.
Before making any statement of fault, contact a personal injury attorney who has experience handling car accident cases. An attorney or lawyer can assess your situation and give you guidance on how to prepare a statement based on the details of your case.
7. Speaking To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Without A Lawyer
If possible, don’t speak to the other driver’s insurance company without first consulting a car accident lawyer. Not every insurance company that handles car accident cases operates in good faith, and your best interests are not their concern.
A car accident lawyer can either help you craft a statement for the other driver’s insurance company, or even speak to the insurance company on your behalf. Consulting a lawyer is the best way to protect your rights and avoid having to dispute a denied or undervalued claim.
8. Neglecting To Report The Accident To Your Own Insurance Company
Unlike the other driver’s insurance company, your own auto insurance company is one of the first numbers you should call after an accident.
You will need to report your accident to your insurance carrier and file an accident claim with them to receive coverage. Failing to report your accident in a timely manner may give your insurance company the legal grounds to deny your claim, depending on coverage details listed in your policy.
As with the other driver’s insurance company, however, be careful that you don’t indicate any degree of fault. Be honest about what happened, but keep the details general until you’ve consulted a car accident attorney.
9. Leaving The Scene Without Taking Photos
Begin collecting evidence of the accident after you’ve attended to immediate safety concerns and exchanged information with the other driver. This includes taking photos of the scene of the accident, the other driver’s license plate, vehicle damage, and any injuries.
While any law enforcement that arrives on the scene will also be required to gather evidence for an official police report, it can be helpful to have your own documentation as well.
Note the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as details regarding the seriousness of the accident and how you believe it occurred.
10. Not Contacting A Car Accident Attorney
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make after getting into an auto accident that has caused injury to yourself or others is to not contact a personal injury attorney.
A personal injury attorney with car accident case experience can not only provide you with legal guidance on how to talk to the other driver’s insurance company but can also determine whether you have a case to file a lawsuit against the other driver for personal injury.
A car accident attorney can help you in the following ways:
- talk to your insurance carrier and that of the other driver on your behalf
- help you file an auto accident claim with your auto insurance company
- determine whether you have the legal grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit
- help you collect evidence to support your case
- consult legal and auto experts
- fight for a fair car accident settlement that is no less than what is owed
Get Legal Advice After A Car Accident Today
At Florin|Roebig law firm, our award-winning legal team can provide you with top-notch legal guidance and help you determine your legal options. Don’t wait to learn what a personal injury lawyer from our firm may be able to do for you.
Contact Florin|Roebig law firm online or by calling (800) 226-6581 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.