Hopefully, you know what to do if you are ever in a car accident: seek medical attention if needed; if your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road; call the police; and exchange insurance information with the other driver(s). It is also smart to take photos or videos of the damage and to make notes for yourself of what happened so you do not forget the details later.
Now that you know what you should do after a wreck, here are some things you should not do.
Don’t leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive unless you need emergency medical treatment without delay.
If you have not been seriously and gravely injured or otherwise incapacitated, leaving the scene of an accident without speaking with responding law enforcement can get you in serious trouble, especially if the accident resulted in bodily injury or death. At times you may need to leave the scene of a serious accident to contact the authorities if you are unable to do so by cellphone, but you still have a duty to return to the accident scene as prompt as possible.
Don’t admit fault
Describe the facts of the accident and how it happened, but you do not need to reach any conclusions as to who contributed or caused the wreck at that time. Fault will be determined later was more complete facts are known and statements are taken and compared. By admitting the accident was your fault or that you “should have paid better attention,” you may be essentially accepting complete responsibility and liability for an accident that may very well not be entirely your fault — or your fault at all. Again, just stick to the facts.
Don’t sign any documents
Do not sign any documents without consulting an attorney first, even something from your own insurance company. Do not assume just because it is your insurance company they have your best interests in mind or will make a fair and reasonable settlement offer. Before agreeing to anything, have an attorney look at what you’re signing. A consultation with The Carolina Law Group is free and we are happy to discuss the implications of any legal documents you are presented with following an accident — you do not have to make any commitment to hire us. Unfortunately, if you sign certain papers containing a release, it will likely be too late for any attorney to help you.
Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company directly (Except to handle your property damage claim)
Your attorney’s job is, in part, to deal directly with the insurance companies regarding your bodily injury or personal injury claim. While the insurance adjuster may sound friendly on the phone, remember they have no duty to look out for your best interests. Your attorney does have such a duty to you. Also, keep in mind you are under no obligation to give a recorded statement to either insurance company, and in most cases providing one will not help you out and could possibly later be used against you in defending your claim. Generally speaking, however, you may be able to adequately deal directly with the insurance companies regarding property damage issues, such as towing, storage, rental cars, repairs, estimates, total loss, etc.
Don’t share TMI on social media
If you have been injured in an accident yet post pictures that may be misconstrued as showing someone healthy with no injuries on social media, that may be used to weaken your claim. In some instances, it could cost you your case. It is safest to stay off social media for a short time until all your claims relating to the accident have been settled. Also, be aware of what your friends may post about you and ask them to refrain from posting any content you would not want to have used against you.
Don’t wait too long
Many symptoms can appear days or even weeks after the accident, but you should not wait that long before seeking medical care. See a doctor soon after the accident and report any symptoms you experience, no matter how minor, such as mild headaches or muscle pain. Be honest with your health providers and describe any and all symptoms from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.
It is also best to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to help you because it gives them an opportunity to investigate the accident and prepare a stronger case on your behalf.
Have you been in a car accident? Call The Carolina Law Group
If you’ve been in a car accident or any other accident and sustained personal injuries, contact the personal injury attorneys of The Carolina Law Group today. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling one of the numbers below, or fill out this contact form.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices across South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg. Call today.