What You Should Never Do After a Car Accident and Why
Today’s post, Things You Should Never Do After a Car Accident, is a sponsored post. Regardless, all opinions are my own.
While being involved in a car wreck can ruin your entire day, what you do – or do not do – next can ruin things for a lot longer. After a car accident, you should take the necessary steps to ensure your own safety, the safety of the other driver or anyone else involved in the wreck and that everything has been properly documented for law enforcement and insurance reasons. You should also look into protecting yourself legally by knowing how to hire a car accident lawyer nj. Here are five things you should never do after a car accident.
Image via Flickr
1. Don’t Leave the Scene
You’re involved in a wreck, but thankfully it’s not a bad one. Damage is minor, and no one appears to be injured. So why bother sticking around and dealing with everything that’s involved. Because if you don’t, you’ve committed a crime. Regardless of whether or not a wreck looks serious, you always have to stop, check on the other people involved, exchange insurance information and report it to law enforcement.
In addition, if someone is injured, you’re required to provide assistance whether it be calling for help or transporting him or her to a hospital if necessary.
So if you’re in a car accident, do what’s correct and stick around to help the other people involved. You’d want them to do the same for you, right? Besides, it’s the law.
2. Don’t NOT Call 911
Some of us may believe that if the damage is minor and no one was hurt in a car accident, it’s not necessary to call 911 and report the accident. Bad idea. For several reasons.
First of all, even if you both decide to just let insurance handle it and not call the police, how are you going to prove what happened and who’s at fault without an accident report? How do you know the other person is being honest? Despite the law, there are still plenty of people out there that do not have insurance. They carry expired or even fake insurance cards. And if that turns out to be the case, you’re the one who is going to have to pay for whatever damage to your vehicle occurred.
Secondly, even if the damage looks minor, there could be more wrong with your vehicle than it appears. And the same holds true for personal injuries.
Do yourself a favor and make sure you always call for help regardless of how minor the accident is.
3. Don’t Let Emotions Take Over
Accidents are scary, period. Right after a car accident emotions are going to be running high, you’re likely to be upset or even angry. You may even be injured. In spite of all of this, you should never let your emotions get the best of you. Don’t lose your cool, especially at the other driver, even if the wreck was their fault.
Instead, take a few deep breaths and try to remain calm. The first thing to do is ask the other driver and anyone else involved if they are alright. Do not start yelling at them or laying blame or even apologizing. And never admit that you were at fault. If you do you are legally admitting liability for the accident and possibly exposing yourself to lawsuits or other penalties.
Next, call 911. Even if everyone is okay and the damage is slight, call for help. Remember, make sure everyone is safe, be polite, but protect yourself at the same time.
4. Don’t Forget Proper Documentation
Once the police have been called, there are still a few more things you need to do. First of all, try to remember exactly what happened. You are going to need to be able to give a clear and accurate account of the car accident to the authorities, possibly several times. Think back and remember what you were doing right before the crash. What street you were on? Which direction you were going? When did the other driver enter the picture?
You will also want to make sure you get the other person’s information. You will need to get the other driver’s name, address, insurance company name and policy number. Make note of the make, model and color of vehicle they were driving, as well as their license plate number. Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the scene, including both cars and your surroundings.
Additionally, if there are any witnesses, get their names and phone numbers. While most of this will be in the official police report, it never hurts to have your own notes as well. Those notes and any pictures you take may come in handy during the claims process later on.
5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up Afterwards
Once you are finally back at home, there is still more that you will need to do including following up with your insurance company, the repair shop, your doctor and possibly even a lawyer.
Register your claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Many insurance companies have time limits on when a claim can be filed, so don’t put it off.
Remember, when it comes to repairs you have the right to send your car to any repair shop of your choosing. Make sure you choose a reputable place. One idea is to check with the dealership where you bought your car. Many auto dealerships, like Lynch Chevrolet of Mukwonago, WI, offer collision and body shop services. Their mechanics are often certified and have years of experience in working on your specific make and model.
Don’t be afraid to stay on top of your insurance company and the repair shop either. Keep in constant touch with both in order to help get everything resolved quickly so you can get on with your life.
If you were injured in the car accident, then make sure you continue to follow up care with your doctor, especially if you are continuing to have pain.
If legal threats have been made, or if you are facing big medical bills, you will need to enlist the help of a lawyer.
Sometimes no matter what people do to avoid car accidents, they happen anyway. The steps you take next can make a big difference in the outcome. Use the above tips to ensure you do everything right.