No one plans on being in a car crash, and yet 2.35 million people suffer injuries in car accidents in the United States every year. These crashes are common enough that there are protocols and emergency resources in place for those affected—drivers simply have to follow the right steps.
Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what you should do after an accident. Avoid these errors, which can make it difficult or impossible to get compensation from the other party if they are at fault.
Waive Your Right to Medical Care
If a car accident appears to be minor, you might think about saving yourself the time and potential cost of an emergency room trip. However, it often takes days or even weeks for certain types of car accident injury symptoms to materialize. The human body often reacts to car accidents and other trauma with a rush of adrenaline, which temporarily masks pain. If you waive your right to seek medical care and problems turn up down the line, you may find it difficult to hold the other party accountable.
Leave the Scene
The hassle of calling the police, exchanging insurance information, and taking accident photos may seem like too much if the crash is minor and no one seems to be hurt. No matter how minor the accident seems to be, wait at the scene until emergency help arrives and you have exchanged information with the other driver. Otherwise, you could face charges for fleeing the scene of an accident.
Forget to Call 911
In situations where fault is unclear or one party is uninsured or underinsured, there may be pressure to avoid calling 911. It does not matter if the other person in the accident seems nice and you really believe that they will pay your repair costs without getting the police and insurance involved. Call 911 and report the accident. Failing to call the police forces you to give up one of your most valuable pieces of evidence: a police report.
It is easy to lose your temper after an accident, even if no one is seriously injured. You may be flooded with adrenaline, thinking about what could have happened to your children in the backseat, or stressed out about the repair costs that could be coming your way. Remain calm when you speak to the other party. Anything perceived as road rage could land you a citation or arrest, complicating the accident further.
Even if you believe you may have caused the accident, do not admit fault. Anything you say could turn up in a personal injury case against you or be used to weaken your claim with the insurance company. Make sure drivers in both vehicles are okay, but do not take any blame for the accident. It is up to the insurance adjusters to make that determination.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
After you have reported the accident to the police, received any necessary medical care, and exchanged information with the other party, your next call should be to the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr. Our team of South Carolina car accident lawyers will fight aggressively to get the compensation you deserve. Call our Rock Hill office at 803 324-7200 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.