What Not to Do After a Car Wreck

Unfortunately, most of us will be in a car wreck at least once in our lifetime, and some of us will be in multiple accidents throughout our life. It’s just a fact of life in modern-day America.

While we wear our seatbelts to make ourselves safe, and we purchase auto insurance to comply with the law and ensure that any accidents we’re in are covered, we can still make mistakes on the day that accident comes. After all, we’re only human. The problem is, what we say and do can impact our personal injury claim, not to mention our future.

For instance, if you’re insured and you are involved in an accident, but you get scared and flee the scene, that insurance you purchased won’t help you when you face criminal charges for fleeing the scene of an accident – even if it wasn’t your fault.

In order to help you mentally prepare in case of a future accident, here is list of what you should not do. You may also want to share the information with your spouse, teen children, friends, and family.

1. Don’t flee the scene of an accident.
Each state has enacted laws that require drivers to STOP after they have been in an accident, see if anyone was hurt and call the police and/or an ambulance. If you do not stay at the scene until it’s all over and instead, you speed away, you can face criminal charges for a hit and run.

2. Never admit fault.
No matter how much you think it’s your fault, don’t say, “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault” or something to that effect. It may not be your fault. You’re better off sticking to the facts and letting the insurance companies determine who’s to blame.

3. Don’t forget to call the police.
In a minor fender-bender, it can be tempting to shake hands with the other driver and agree not to call the police. This is a bad idea. You don’t know the other driver, and you don’t know if they are honest.

They may not have a valid license, or insurance, or they may give you false information.

When you call the police, you are ensuring that a police report will be written and the other driver’s correct information is collected. If the police ticket the other driver, then it will make the claims process that much easier. So, always call the police after an accident.

4. Don’t fail to document the scene.
If your injuries permit, it helps if you take lots of pictures of the accident. Take pictures of where the vehicles landed, skid marks, road conditions, and weather conditions. It also helps to record a video on your smartphone. This evidence can be very helpful.

5. Don’t give your opinion.
If you talk to an insurance company, it’s best to stick to the facts and not give your opinion. Even if you think you stopped a certain distance from the accident, it’s best not to state the distance as a fact. If compelled to give an opinion, be sure to say, “In my opinion.”

6. Don’t lie to the insurance company.
You never want to lie to an insurance company as this would be fraud. We don’t need to expand any further.

7. Don’t give the other insurance company a recorded statement.
If the other driver’s insurance company asks you to provide a recorded statement, politely refuse. If they obtain a recorded statement from you, they will find a way to use something you said against you.

8. Don’t sign a medical release.
Your medical records are protected by federal law, so don’t sign a medical release. Insurance companies want to see people’s medical records so they can find pre-existing conditions. Ultimately, the goal is to dig something up to deny or devalue a person’s personal injury claim. So don’t give them the opportunity.

If you were recently involved in a car wreck, we urge you to contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr. to schedule a free consultation with our Columbia personal injury lawyer!

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