Keeping your cool after an accident is never easy. You may be dealing with injuries, financial loss, and the prospect of having to face litigation in some cases. You also have to be ready to face the prospect of seeking compensation in case you’re the victim. Whatever the circumstances, knowing what to do and what not to do is extremely important not only for your health, but for the legal implications of an accident as well. Let’s look at some of the things that you should never do after being involved in an auto accident.
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Driving off the Scene
This is bar none one of the worst mistakes you can commit after an accident. Whether you caused damage to public property or another vehicle, chances are you will be charged with a hit and run, no matter how minor the accident was. Depending on your state’s jurisdiction, hit and runs can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies.
Being involved in a hit and run may hurt your situation with your insurer as well. In most cases, insurers will increase your premiums if you’re found guilty and your license might get revoked. So, no matter how minor the accident is, do not, under any circumstances, just flee the scene.
Never, Ever Say You’re Sorry
Saying sorry, even if it’s just by politeness or if you think that your actions may have either contributed or caused the accident, could be perceived as an admission of guilt. If you find out that the other party was responsible for the accident, you could wave off all future chances of prosecuting them or filing an insurance case. Do not incriminate yourself, and let your lawyer determine who is really at fault here.
Don’t Negotiate on the Scene with the Other Party
Sometimes, people just don’t want to deal with their insurance company in fear that their premiums will go up. Negotiating on the scene is usually a very bad idea no matter the circumstances. First of all, there is no way that you can take the other person’s word at face value. If they offer you a check, you have no idea if it’ll be good or not and it’s never a good idea to get straight cash from a stranger. Instead, you should consider looking for a car accident lawyer near you and cooperate with your insurance company instead, this is the only way you’ll be able to get the compensation you deserve.
Only Taking a Few Pictures of the Scene
Some people might think that simply taking a few pictures of the scene along with damage caused to the vehicles will be enough evidence. Sure, you want to take as many pictures as you can from different angles, but the more information you have, the more chances you’ll have to build a strong case.
Try to write down things like who was driving the vehicles and from which direction both vehicles were coming. When the police arrive, you’ll need to get the police officer’s name along with their badge number. Get as much info on the other vehicle and the driver as well. Get the vehicle’s VIN number, model, make and year and also get the driver’s license number, name and any information you’ll need to track them down. And if you need the emergency services, make sure that you get a copy of your medical records as well.
Knowing what to do after you’ve been involved in an accident can make the difference between you being compensated or actually facing legal action. So, make sure that you refrain from committing any of these mistakes and work with a qualified car accident lawyer as soon as possible.