Auto Injury Tips: 9 Things Not to Do After a Car Accident
Car Accidents happen pretty frequently in the US. In fact, there are an estimated 6 million car accidents every year. Many of these only result in property damage and injuries, while a significant number results in fatalities.
Data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2013 shows that there were 33,561 car accident fatalities in 2012. However, seeing as it is more likely that any accident you find yourself involved in would have an injury than a death, this leaves the issue of what to do, or more importantly what not to do, after a non-fatal accident.
Usually, most people know what to do in an accident – call 911, try to get free as soon as you’re able, take pictures of the scene, trade insurance, don’t move the victim unless he’s in critical danger and so on. What most people don’t know is what not to do.
This is a whole different kettle of fish and can be the deciding factor on whether you get your insurance payout or not. So, let’s examine those things you need to avoid.
Don’t Be in a Haste to Admit You Were in the Wrong
This probably goes against everything you know, but trust us on this. Even when there is clear evidence that you were in the wrong, admitting it makes you culpable.
The fact is that once the accident has happened; there is nothing to be gained for either party from telling the police or anyone that you were at fault. Please note that this is not the same thing as lying to the police. We don’t encourage that at all.
By all means, tell the police the truth about everything that happened and let the insurance adjusters and first responders decide who is at fault.
Don’t Argue With the Other Party
Nerves get frayed and tempers rise in accidents. Be the level headed and calm individual. Raising your voice, becoming agitated, and trying to pick a fight with the other party won’t do you any good.
Don't Leave Your Car in the Middle of the Road
We have all seen this happen many times. Somebody gets in an accident and leaves the car in the middle of the road, causing a hold up and a potential pileup. Assuming your car is still able to move either under its own power or with a push there is no reason to do this. Once the police are done, get the car moved as fast as possible. More importantly, go down the road by at least 100 meters, put the CAUTION sign and turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights so that other road users can avoid that lane.
Don’t Be Pressured into Towing
If your car isn’t drivable after the accident, get the tow truck service contacts from the police. Avoid any tow truck service that seems to pressure you. Instead, get one that will tow your vehicle to where you can officially file a collision report.
Don’t Carry Out Significant Repairs
Wait until you’ve spoken to the other party’s insurance adjuster or your insurance adjuster first. They may have a standing agreement with a vehicle repair facility, which means your best guarantee of getting your car fixed will be at that location.
Don’t Collect Direct Compensation
It is possible that the other party would want to compensate you directly if the accident is minor. You may want to avoid this as collecting the money would probably mean not reporting the accident. While this is possible, it is not advised as there is no guarantee that the other party won’t report the incident.
Don’t forget to Take Pictures or Record the Scene
This is highly important in the instance of a dispute. You want to be absolutely sure that the other party won’t do anything irresponsible or otherwise attempt to get away when you’re not looking. So, take pictures, record the scene, and make sure you have some sort of evidence.
Don’t Drive if You’re Unsure of the Vehicle’s Reliability
Usually, you should be able to drive your car after a minor accident. But, if you’re not sure of the car, it might be best to allow the tow truck take your car to the specified garage and have it checked out before you drive it again.
Don’t Drive Away
You might be tempted to drive away from the scene if the accident is a minor one. Don’t do that… at least, not until you have traded insurance information.
Finally, make sure to get a good vehicle accident lawyer if your car is totaled or completely damaged and the other party isn’t paying up. This is the only way you can be sure that you’ll get your deserved compensation.
When not writing articles, Oscar King works as an insurance adjuster, and likes to pass on tips and tricks he picked up over his career. A resident of the Orlando area, when dealing in legal matters related to personal injury he likes to consult with the Law Office of David Heil, and often refers his customers in that direction. You can find out more about Oscar on his Google+ profile.