What NOT to Do After an Automobile Accident
Knowing what to do after an automobile accident with injuries can help you preserve or obtain important evidence, but it may be just as important to know what not to do after an accident.
Automobile accidents are stressful events, and if serious injuries occur, it may be difficult to use your best judgment or to make decisions that are in your best interest. There are some things, however, that you should avoid doing if you are involved in an auto accident.
Things Not To Do
- Do not talk to anyone other than the police about how the accident happened. Many times, accidents occur so quickly that you may assume that certain events occurred in a certain order that is incorrect, or you may guess at times and distances that are in error. Also, the other party may argue that you agreed the accident was your fault.
- Do not apologize, say you are sorry, or wish the accident did not happen. This can be taken out of context and interpreted as an admission of fault.
- Do not leave the scene of an accident until all insurance, driver's license, and registration information has been exchanged, unless, of course, you are injured and are unable to provide it.
- Do not refuse medical attention if you feel even slightly injured. Many injuries because of shock or the nature of the injury do not manifest any symptoms for hours after an accident. Also, if you do seek medical attention later, the other party's insurer will argue you were not seriously injured or you would have sought immediate care at the scene.
- Do not give a recorded or written statement to an insurance adjuster. Your statement will be used to minimize your injuries or to point out inconsistencies in other statements you may have made at any other time.
- Do not try to settle your case yourself. In some cases in which injuries appear slight, there may be other unknown but serious underlying conditions. For example, fibromyalgia, a chronic body-wide pain syndrome caused by physical trauma, may not be diagnosed until months after an accident. The same applies to disc herniation or other spinal problems. If you settle early, you foreclose the possibility of any further compensation, which could have been substantial.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Anyone involved in an injury auto accident needs the advice and representation of a personal injury attorney. Studies have consistently shown that legal representation in injury cases results in larger settlements than if clients represent themselves, even taking into account for legal fees.
By knowing what not to do, which can help establish liability on the other party and preserve or bolster your own credibility, as well as by retaining an auto accident lawyer, you can greatly increase the value of your injury claim and get the compensation your case deserves.