Let’s start with the facts:
Over 37,000 people die each year in the United States due to vehicle crashes. 2.35 million more are injured or disabled as a result of crashes. The annual estimated cost to the United States is a staggering $230.6 billion. These facts were collected by the Association for Safe International Road Travel.
It is clear that traffic accidents are a major source of injury, financial strain, and even death. Does the question then become what to do about them? What are the do’s and don’ts after a car accident?
We have put together a guide on what you want to do after an accident and what you want to avoid. It is important to remember that these are simply recommendations and not legal advice. If you have been in a car accident, contact us today for a free consultation.
Do Call the Police
One of the first actions you should take after a car accident is to call the police. It does not matter if you believe you were the victim or if you were at fault. The police report that law enforcement will file can be an invaluable asset when speaking to your insurance company, when in a trial, or in many other situations.
Do Speak to the Other Driver(s) and Get Their Information
You will want to speak to the other driver(s) right away. This is the case whether there is extensive damage, minor damage, or no damage at all. You should not admit fault while speaking to the other driver(s). Rather, use this exchange as an opportunity to gather: insurance information, license plate number(s), information from any eyewitnesses, and more.
Do Take Photographs
In addition to speaking to the other driver(s), you should take photographs on all vehicles involved in the accident. These do not have to be professional photos, but rather should document any and all damage to both your car and all others involved. Similar to the police report, these photos will be incredibly helpful for your insurance company.
Do Call Your Insurance Company
Calling your insurance company is another key action to take after a car accident. You may not want to call right away, however, as calling the police and gathering information are more important. After you have all the necessary information, you can call your insurance company and file a claim.
Do Seek Medical Attention
Last but certainly not least, you should seek medical attention after a car accident. This is true even if you don’t believe you have been injured. You may have injuries that are not noticeable or that do not begin to show until later. Getting a medical professional’s opinion will help reveal any injuries and their reports will join the police’s as important insurance documents.
Don’t Admit Blame or Apologize
It is very tempting to apologize to the other driver(s) involved in a car accident. Do not do this. Your apology may be used later as to argue that you were at fault in the accident and are legally or financially responsible for the accident.
Don’t Move Your Vehicle or Leave
This is a bit of gray area. If you were involved in an accident in the middle of a busy intersection, then you may want to move your vehicle to safety. If, however, you were involved in an accident on a side street, then you should not move your vehicle. Whether you move your car or not, you should NOT leave the scene of the accident. Make sure the other driver(s) come with you and stay until police and paramedics arrive.
Don’t Give an Insurance Statement
While you want to call your insurance company and begin the claim process, you do not want to give an insurance statement after an accident. This is a legal statement that will impact the settlement your insurance company awards you. You should always consult with an attorney before giving an insurance statement.
Contact us for a free consultation if you have been involved in any car accident, small or large. Our team of experienced attorneys can offer you invaluable advice and help you get a favorable settlement decision. If you need a personal injury attorney in Florida, contact us today.