Each year, there is an average of 6 million car accidents in the United States. While some of them are more serious than others, the bottom line is that no one wants to experience the fear and danger of getting into an auto accident.
The most important thing after an accident is to make sure that you and your passengers are all safe. Then, check to see if everyone else involved in the accident is safe, as well. Calling for medical help should always be the first thing you do after an accident.
But, once you’re sure that everyone is okay, there are a few key things that you should and shouldn’t do after an auto accident. It’s normal to be rattled and feel as though you’re not thinking straight. However, doing the “wrong things” could lead to big problems.
With that in mind, let’s look at five things to avoid after an auto accident that can help to keep you safe and protected in more ways than one.
1. Leaving the Scene of the Accident
In many states, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. Typically, it can result in a misdemeanor charge. In Michigan, for example, leaving the scene before the police arrive can result in jail time or a fine.
Not only is it illegal to leave the scene of an accident, but it is also incredibly risky. Even if you feel okay to drive and your passengers seem okay, you may need medical attention if you have a concussion or if there is a risk for internal bleeding. Additionally, the police need to know what happened in order to fill out an accurate report. Even if the accident was your fault, it’s better to remain at the scene and give an honest report than to be charged with a criminal offense.
2. Not Calling the Police
Even minor accidents need to be reported to the police. You might think it will be easier to work it out with the other drivers or to just drive away if you were the solo car in the accident.
But, not getting a hold of law enforcement after an accident is a big risk. Police information is crucial when it comes to any legal matters that might occur because of the accident. For example, if anyone else involved in the accident decides to sue you, a police report of what happened could work in your favor.
3. Forgetting to Document
In this world of smartphones and advancements in technology, it’s easier than ever to document as much as possible after an auto accident. That can be a huge help to you if you were to get sued or you simply need viable information for your insurance company.
So, even though you might be scared and shaken up, take out your phone and take pictures of the damage to your car, as well as any other vehicles that were involved. Additionally, be sure to get the contact information of anyone else involved. It can even help to get short statements from witnesses nearby who saw the accident. All of these things can help you if anyone takes legal action regarding the accident.
4. Getting Angry or Upset
Auto accidents can cause long-term stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues that you will have to work through over time. But, they can also cause an influx of emotions right when they happen. So, it’s easy to get carried away, start yelling and getting angry at other drivers who may have been involved.
Remember the importance of documenting? People will be doing that to you, too. So, don’t go on a rant in front of everyone. Keep your cool, and if the incident is taken to court, you can have confidence that you kept calm and quiet during the accident itself.
5. Handling the Aftermath Yourself
If someone takes legal action against you or you want to file a lawsuit against someone else after a car accident, don’t do it yourself. You might think you’ll be saving money by not hiring a lawyer. But, it may end up costing you even more money, and you could lose the suit and have to pay a hefty price.
Always contact a lawyer for legal advice after an accident, and don’t take it to court on your own. A qualified attorney can help you through the process and make it easier and less stressful while increasing your chances of a positive outcome.
Again, no one wants to think about experiencing a car accident. But, it does happen. Whether you’ve recently been in an accident or you want to make sure you’re always prepared, contact Fisher, Fowler and Williams for more information about how we can help.