The first few minutes after an auto accident are a blur for most people. There is the sudden shock, the realization of the accident, and worry or fear for your passengers as well as others involved in the crash.
Even in situations where there are no injuries, it is still a very traumatic event. Unfortunately, in the period immediately after the accident many uninjured drivers or those with minor injuries not requiring immediate medical attention make mistakes that can limit their options for settlement in the future. To help our clients, we recommend avoiding the following common errors.
There is nothing wrong with checking in with other drivers and passengers to make sure everyone is safe and doesn't require medical attention. It is never a good idea to talk about the accident with other drivers or to talk about your reactions at the time of the accident. These statements, including the admission of guilt for some aspect of the crash, will be used against you in a settlement.
Not Getting Driver And Witness Information
While the police will provide information on the drivers involved in their report, it is still a good idea to write down license numbers and driver information. Additionally, get phone numbers and names of any witnesses to the accident.
It is also a good idea to take pictures of the auto accident. Be careful and do not step out into traffic, but try to get pictures of the cars, the surrounding area and other factors that contributed to the accident.
Not Calling the Police
The police are an important aspect of any vehicle accident, even what appears to be a fender bender. Be sure to call the police and do not leave the scene of the accident before law enforcement arrives.
Not Detailing Injuries
At the time of the auto accident if you feel pain, even if it is only minor, make sure to provide that information to first responders and in your statement to the police. Often soft tissue damage or back injuries may not become significant for hours or even a few days after the accident.
Do not say you are fine and have no injuries unless this is the case. Take pictures of any bruising or abrasions that are a result of the accident and bring them with you when you meet with your attorney.
To learn more about car accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Car Accident Victims.