There are many things you shouldn’t do after a car accident. Don’t get your car repaired before taking photographs, for example. If you’ve been in a car accident, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.
Things you shouldn’t do after your car accident include the following.
Don’t Apologize to Another Motorist in Your Accident
You’re a decent person, and your instinct may be to apologize to others involved in your accident. You may feel this urge even if you weren’t at fault for the accident. Don’t.
Treat the aftermath of your car accident like an interrogation – anything you say can and will be used against you at a later date. It’s fine to check that others are safe. However, insurance companies and attorneys may frame an apology as an admission of fault.
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Don’t Leave the Accident Scene Prematurely
Leaving the scene of an accident before you are permitted is a potential criminal offense. Per O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270, you must stop at the scene where your accident happened. Even if you don’t leave the accident in hit-and-run style, you must stay at the scene long enough to:
- Exchange your personal information and insurance details with other motorists
- Get contact information from witnesses
- Speak with law enforcement
- Receive any necessary medical care
Only bad things can happen if you leave early. Even if you don’t face criminal charges, insurance companies and attorneys may argue that you acted irresponsibly. Give them no opportunity to make such a claim.
Do Not Keep Your Phone in Your Pocket
Your phone contains a camera that you probably use regularly. Use that very same camera to document your accident scene. You may take photographs of:
- The entirety of the accident scene
- All damage to your vehicle
- Damage to other motorists’ vehicles
- Your own injuries
- The police report
- Other motorists’ insurance cards and IDs
You never know which photographs may become important. A motorist may claim that their property damage was worse than it truly is. Insurance companies may claim that your injuries are not accident-related. You may lose a written copy of their contact information, and a photograph may come in handy. The more photographs you take at the accident scene, the better.
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Do Not Engage in Casual Discussion at the Accident Scene
Car accidents are disorienting. You may be anxious, confused, and generally uncomfortable. You may, naturally, want to speak with others at the accident scene – a bystander, another motorist involved in the accident, or someone else. If you do so, you may say something that comes back to harm your case.
The safest bet is not to speak with others, especially not strangers. If you can, you may call a loved one or trusted friend to meet you at the scene. You can retain a personal injury lawyer to advise you at some point. These trusted parties may be an appropriate sounding board for your concerns.
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Do Not Refuse Medical Treatment
This one is critical. If you’ve been in an accident, accept medical treatment. You don’t necessarily need to ride in an ambulance to the hospital, though this may be appropriate. You should, however, undergo observation by emergency medical personnel.
If you simply refuse medical treatment at the accident scene, then:
- Insurance companies may claim that any subsequent injuries aren’t accident-related.
- You may remain unaware of significant injuries, putting you at great risk.
- You may have greater difficulty obtaining coverage for medical costs.
All is not lost if you’ve already refused medical care. However, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your case may become weaker the longer you wait for diagnosis and treatment.
Do Not Speak with the Insurance Companies without an Attorney
You will need to inform your insurance company of your accident at some point. You may first want to contact an attorney, though. Your own insurer – and especially other motorists’ insurers – may take your words out of context. If you’re not prepared and careful, you may talk your way into a claim denial. Even worse, you may unwittingly admit fault in your accident.
An attorney will prepare you before you speak with insurance companies. They may even handle parts of the discussion themselves.
Do Not Assume You Can Deal With Your Car Accident Yourself
You don’t need to deal with your car accident alone. A personal injury attorney will:
- Protect your rights and interests following your accident
- Investigate your accident
- Gather evidence
- File your claim
- Seek fair compensation
Risk abounds after a car accident. Let a car accident lawyer help while you begin your recovery.
Call Kaine Law Today for a Free Consultation About Your Car Accident
Kaine Law is an Atlanta-based law firm with more than 40 years of collective experience serving Georgia. We can help with your car accident case. You pay nothing unless we win. Call Kaine Law today at (404) 214-2001 for a FREE consultation.
We will review what not to do after a car accident and what could help you.