In the minutes following a car accident, you are likely a bit disoriented, confused, and uncertain about what to do next. You or someone else at the scene may have suffered an injury, so you’ll need to call 911 as soon as possible. As you wait for the ambulance to arrive, you may find yourself wondering what steps to take or what to say to the other people who were involved in the accident. Before you find yourself in this scenario, let’s take a look at four actions you should not take following an auto accident, as these may ultimately lead to further complications in the future.
1. Don’t Leave the Scene
If you don’t have any significant injuries and you believe you can make it safely home, you may be tempted to simply leave the area and deal with the aftermath of the accident later. However, doing so could result in criminal charges, especially if there are major injuries or property damage involved. You could face a misdemeanor or felony charge for leaving the scene without exchanging contact information with the other parties or for failing to report the accident to the police. It’s always a good idea to remain where you are until the necessary authorities arrive to assess the situation and advise you on what steps you need to take.
2. Don’t Admit Fault
As tempting as it may be to apologize for the accident, it is best to avoid admitting to any form of wrongdoing. Unfortunately, even saying “I’m sorry” could be interpreted as an admission of fault, which could complicate things for you later on. It’s also important to avoid admitting fault when you are reporting the accident to your insurance provider, as such statements could be used against you during a settlement negotiation or lawsuit. While you should still be honest about what happened, just stick to the facts without stating that you were to blame.
3. Don’t Discuss the Accident With the Other Party’s Insurance Provider
After the accident, the other party involved in the accident will likely report the incident to their insurance company. An agent may then attempt to contact you to discuss the accident, but be wary of this gesture. In all likelihood, they are simply trying to get you to admit fault so that they can use your words against you during the settlement process or in a lawsuit. Instead, your attorney should step in to handle all such communications so that you are sufficiently protected throughout the entire legal process.
4. Don’t Forget to Work With an Attorney
At first, you may think that you can handle the legal aftermath of an auto accident without the help of a lawyer. However, you’ll also be struggling with so many other important issues, such as your physical recovery, the costly medical expenses, lost wages, and other negative consequences resulting from the accident. Reach out to a knowledgeable auto accident attorney who can step in and guide you through the legal process while you focus on what matters most—getting your life back on track.
Need help navigating the aftermath of an auto accident in the Vancouver or Camas area? Contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Henderson Taylor Law Firm at (360) 737-1478 today to get started.