Car Accidents Do’s and Don’ts – Important Points to Remember

Being in a car can be a traumatic experience. Sometimes there is only property damage and sometimes there can be serious personal injuries. If you are ever involved in car accident, there are important steps you must take in order to protect your safety and your rights. Here are a few pointers to make sure that an already dramatic experience doesn’t have to be worse than it is.

Do:

PROTECT YOURSELF AND THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT. Keeping yourself and the scene safe is very important. You should turn on your emergency hazard lights and try to move out of the way of traffic to avoid any more collisions. Always keep a flashlight in your car in case your lights don’t work and it is late at night.

Don’t:

LEAVE THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT. Even if it is a minor accident do not leave until you have reported the accident to the police or at least exchanged insurance information. Leaving the scene can carry serious consequences, including criminal charges. If the other party is leaving or leaves, make sure you get their license plate number, make, model, and color of their car and they can be easily tracked.

Do:

CALL THE POLICE. Always call the police no matter how minor or major the accident is. Even if it is a very minor accident, they will make a police report that will document what happened, and it is highly likely that the police report will be necessary to file a claim with the insurance company. If it is a major accident you will need them to help you move your vehicle and get you immediate medical attention.

Don’t:

ADMIT FAULT. You should not admit fault at the scene of accident or in a conversation with an insurance company. Always be honest about happened, but avoid saying things like “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault.” An insurance company who is trying to avoid covering your damages can use these statements against you later.

Do:

BE AWARE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES. It is very important to be able to give the investigating officer an accurate representation of what took place, to the best of your knowledge.

Don’t:

SPECULATE. If there are things that took place that you don’t remember or are not sure of, say that you “don’t know” or “don’t remember” because you may have been dazed or things happened too fast, which is often the case. Be very careful not to speculate or misstate the facts.

Do:

TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS.  If you can, take as many pictures as possible. Take pictures of both vehicles and your injuries. All smart phones and many other types of phones come standard with cameras, using your camera phone to take photographs should be quite easy. If you are unable to take photos at the scene, take them as soon as you can afterwards.

Don’t:

POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Never post pictures of your accident or injuries on your social media accounts. Many insurance companies and attorneys will research and look on your personal social media accounts. Don’t discuss any of the details of your accident online because that will leave room for others to speculate on how bad your accident is. It is always best to let professionals handle your accident before you discuss it online.

Do:

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED. If you called the police, which you ALWAYS should, they will gather the appropriate information, such as: the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the drivers and witnesses. The police will also gather the insurance information from all of the drivers, which will make the process much smoother. Be sure to get the POLICE REPORT NUMBER before you leave the scene. Without this information, you may not be able to recoup your damages. If for some reason you decide not to notify the police, be sure to get this information from the drivers and witnesses.

Don’t:

LOSE YOUR COOL. Often times after an accident emotions are running high. Always stay calm and avoid any verbal or physical altercations with the other drivers. Remember the police are coming and they will gather the necessary information for you, there is no need for you to get worked up. If the other party is getting worked up, stay calm and stay in your car until the police arrive.

Do:

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. Many times after a car accident, your injuries are not immediately noticed.  The majority of people do not feel the pain of their injuries for at least a day or two after the accident. Even if it is a minor accident it is very important to go to your local emergency room immediately following the accident to get checked out, you may not need an ambulance but have someone close to you take you. In any car accident it is possible to suffer serious injury to your spinal cord. Also, if you were dazed or lost consciousness you could have suffered a concussion or a head injury and you must seek treatment. After your emergency room visit, follow up with primary care doctor to come up with a treatment plan.

Don’t:

AVOID GETTING TREATMENT OR STOP RECEIVING TREATMENT TOO SOON. You may think that you are ok or that you can’t afford treatment for your injuries, but you must get checked out. You may not feel the pain immediately but you could suffer serious long-term effects if left untreated. There are many medical facilities that will treat you, even if you are in a position financial hardship. Your attorney can help advise you of your options for medical treatment.

Do:

NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY.  Once you leave the emergency room, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many insurance companies require that you notify them as soon as you can. Be aware of what is included in your policy, you may have medical benefits as a part of your policy, this is known as “medpay.” Medpay coverage will cover your accident related medical bills.

Don’t:

SPEAK TO ANY INSURANCE COMPANY WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY. If you speak with the other party’s insurance company, they will try to get you to give a recorded statement and possibly take advantage of what you say. Always get the advice of an attorney that is representing you before you make any statements to any insurance company.

Do:

KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING. Keep all of your documents that relate to your accident in one place so you do not lose them. Also, keep track of all of your medical treatment, including all of the places you were treated, when you were treated, and the days you missed from work.

Don’t:

BE UNORGANIZED. Be sure to keep all of your accident related documents in order, and remember exactly where you were treated. Keep your police report, insurance information, other party’s insurance, all letters you have received, health insurance information, policy information, medical documents, everything that you have that is related to the accident should all be put in a safe place. Put all of these items that you have in your possession in a folder or file so that you don’t lose any evidence that may be crucial to your case.

Do:

SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. The single most important thing you can do after a car accident is to consult an attorney. A good attorney will make sure you are prepared to handle everything that will happen after your accident, including: being compensated for the damage to your vehicle, making sure that you are getting the best medical treatment for your injuries, and being fully compensated for injuries and medical treatment.

Don’t:

ENTER INTO AN UNFAIR SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND DECLINE TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY. You may feel as though what the insurance company is offering you is not enough to cover all of the expenses you have incurred. Don’t agree to a settlement that is not fair. Many complicated legal issues can arise and you will need the advise of an attorney before you make a decision.

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, call Stewart, Seay, and Felton at 404-637-0240 or 1-855-YES JUSTICE for a free consultation! We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we will not ask for a legal fee unless we recover compensation for your property damage or injuries. 

Comments are closed for this post.