Unfortunately, no matter how careful of a driver you are, car accidents are unavoidable. And when you are in a car accident, your adrenaline is likely pumping and stress levels are high. Despite the adrenaline rush, however, it’s important to remain calm. In fact, it’s crucial to your car accident claim.
If you are on the scene and don’t require immediate care, here are a few things you should avoid doing:
1. Don’t lose your temper.
You got hit by someone and it clearly wasn’t your fault. You have every right to be mad. However, resist the temptation to lose your cool. Exchange the necessary information. Call the police if needed. Avoid every temptation to scream, make accusations, or use obscene gestures or language. You don’t want to add fuel to any potential case against you, as this can hurt your car accident claim.
2. Don’t flee the scene.
When under stress, you may think about doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Whether you might be at fault, or not, stay at the scene of the accident. Cooperate with authorities and as minimally needed with the other parties. Fleeing the scene of an accident is actually a crime. In some cases, fleeing an accident scene can be a felony. Therefore, it is important to stay on the scene until the authorities say it’s okay to leave, or it is clear all the details are documented.
3. Don’t admit fault or apologize.
The less you say after a car accident, the better. Even if you might be at fault, do not say anything about causes, fault, or the accident details to anyone. Save these details to be worked out later. This is a hard thing to do when you are under stress. You might feel the need to apologize, especially if you think you are at fault. But remember: Whatever you say at the accident scene can be later misconstrued or even turned into an admission of liability, which would ultimately be damaging to your car accident claim.
4. Don’t let anyone take a picture of your license.
The other driver asks to take a photo of your license. With smart phones it is almost too easy to resist the temptation to let someone take your license photo. You need to protect your information. Giving someone a photo of your license gives them a lot of personal information. This could open the door for identity theft. Give only the most basic information needed, such as your:
- vehicle make/model/year/VIN
- license plate number
- insurance information
5. Don’t agree to a settlement offer without a thorough review.
Settlement can take place at different stages after an accident. Do not agree to anything at the actual scene of the accident. If a settlement offer involves attorneys and insurance companies, don’t accept the first offer. You want time to carefully review the offer.
You need to take into consideration your injuries, other damages, expenses, and medical debts. Then discuss a car accident settlement with your attorney before agreeing to it.
6. Don’t talk to the other party’s insurance company or attorney
Chances are that the other party’s insurance company or attorney will contact you to discuss details about the accident. These people do not work for you, and do not have your best interests in mind. So it’s not good idea not to talk with them directly. Tell them to contact your insurance company or your attorney.