Things You Should Never Do After a Car Accident
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Mar 18, 2019 in Car Accidents
Car accidents are often confusing and scary events for everyone involved, particularly victims who suffer injuries. However, if you do not know how to handle the situation, you run the risk of doing something illegal, or something that hurts your chances of recovering fair compensation for your damages.
Below, the experienced South Bend car accident lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak discuss some of the most common mistakes people make after a car accident. Be sure you avoid these things as they may place you in jeopardy and derail your own claim. If you need further assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to a qualified car accident attorney today.
Leaving the Scene
Some people mistakenly believe that if they are not injured in the accident, it is OK to drive away. However, Indiana law (Indiana Code (IC) 9-26-1-1.1) requires motorists to stop after being involved in a collision, even if it does not appear to be serious.
You must stop at the accident scene, check on the other persons involved (if there are injuries), call for aid and exchange contact information and vehicle registration numbers. Failing to take these steps can result in you being charged with a crime. If the other motorist was seriously injured, the consequences are even more dire if you flee the scene.
If you happen to collide with a parked car, you must make a diligent attempt to find the owner of the vehicle. If you cannot find him or her, you should leave your contact information in a noticeable place on the vehicle.
Forgetting to Call 9-1-1
Some people who are involved in an accident may wish to avoid making a claim to their insurance company. The other driver may promise to pay for repairs if the accident is not reported.
In other situations, the motorists may decide to only inform the insurance company and not report the accident to the police. In these situations, the parties may not call 9-1-1 and may not report the accident to authorities. This is almost always a bad idea and should be avoided.
When you report the accident to the local authorities, a law enforcement officer is usually dispatched to the accident scene. He or she conducts an investigation and gathers information about both drivers and any witnesses. He or she may state in the report what is believed to be the cause of the accident. Additionally, the officer may cite the other driver for a violation of traffic laws. The police report is official proof that the accident happened.
Getting into an Altercation with Other Involved Parties
You may be angry that another driver damaged your vehicle, made you late to work or acted in a discourteous manner. However, assaulting the other driver is not only illegal and could result in you suffering further injury, it could result in you being criminally charged. This could have a negative effect on your chances of recovering compensation.
Do your best to stay calm and wait for the authorities to arrive. If the other driver is mad at you, stay in the car and do not make eye contact.
Additional Things to Avoid
There are a few other things that you should avoid after a car accident, including the following:
- Taking responsibility – You should not apologize or claim responsibility for the accident. Doing so amounts to legally admitting liability for the accident. You are probably unaware of all of the factors involved in the accident and you may not actually be the one to blame. Admitting fault could prevent you from recovering compensation.
- Not documenting the scene – The accident scene will only be active for a small amount of time, so it is important to document all you can in the moments after the accident. Take pictures of the damage, your injuries and the accident scene.
- Not seeking medical treatment – In many situations, people involved in accidents receive a surge of adrenaline. This can mask the symptoms of an injury. Even though you might not be aware of an injury, you may want to seek medical attention to determine if you have suffered injuries. Sometimes things are more serious than they seem at first.
Contact a Lawyer for Assistance with Your Claim
If you are involved in a car accident, it is important that you seek the help of a qualified car accident attorney. The car accident lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak can talk to you about your claim and help you avoid other common mistakes.
We can handle communications with the insurance company and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
Call us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. (844) 678-1800