What Not To Do After A Car Accident
Many people know there are certain steps they should take after any car accident, such as exchanging name, contact, and insurance information with any other motorist involved in the crash. Just as there are things you should do after a crash, though, there are also some things you should not do. Taking these steps can place any future personal injury claim, and possible compensation, in jeopardy. Below, our San Antonio car accident lawyer outlines the steps to avoid.
Leave the Scene
Under state law, any time you are involved in an accident that results in injury, death, or property damage, you must stop your vehicle. At minimum, you should stay at the scene long enough to exchange information with the other driver. If you fail to stop and keep on driving, you could be charged with a hit-and-run, which is a serious criminal offense.
Fail to Call the Police
Not only should you call the police, but you should call 911 so an ambulance can also be sent to the scene. Paramedics will ensure that you receive immediate treatment for any injuries you sustained, while police will report and file a report. If the report indicates that another driver was negligent, that could serve as evidence for your case in the future. If you fail to call 911, you may not receive the treatment you need and you may be in violation of the law if you do not call the police.
Fail to Remain Calm
Car accidents are certainly upsetting experiences. If you do not remain calm, though, it can make it much more difficult to think clearly, take the appropriate steps, and give police the correct information. Do not become upset or angry with the other people involved, and try to keep your emotions in check as best as possible.
Forgetting to Document the Scene
Some of the best evidence is at the scene of the car accident and if you do not document it right away, it could go missing and memories can fade. Take pictures and video footage of the crash scene and the damage to all vehicles involved (not just your won vehicle), if possible, as they can show how the accident occurred, the severity of the impacts, and the traumatic nature of the event. Take photos of debris from the collision, skid marks, and other visual evidence of the crash. Take photos of any stop sign(s), traffic signal(s), or other traffic control device(s). Taking a photo of the crash that includes the surroundings can help show who had the right of way and where the accident happened. Take photos from different perspectives, including your perspective and that of the other driver, to show visibility or view obstructions and the story of what happened. Take photos of any injuries that you may have suffered and continue to document them by taking photos as they heal over time. Take a photo of the at-fault driver’s insurance card, driver’s license (if allowed), and license plate. Locate witnesses and ask them for their name and contact information. Many police officers do not include this in the police report, so do not rely on the police officers to have this information should it be needed at a later date to prove your case. Also write down the time and date of the crash, where it happened, any conditions, such as heavy rain, that were present and may have contributed to the cause of the crash, and any statements that you recall the other driver, police officer, or witnesses making.
Admitting fault can go far beyond just saying, “I am so sorry, this was all my fault.” Even saying you are sorry the accident happened at all can be taken out of context in the future and used against you. Do not say anything that can be misconstrued as an apology and simply stick to the facts of the crash.
Posting on Social Media
Do not post photos, videos, comments, or status updates on social media about the crash. Using social media after an accident can hurt your case. Any information you choose to share could be helping insurance companies build a case against you. Insurance adjusters use social media to spy on people hurt in crashes. They look for updates and photographs that contradict your claim (like a post immediately after a crash saying “I’m okay” to let friends and family know that you survived might be used by the insurance company as evidence that you were not injured in the crash). Innocent posts and pictures might be taken out of context and used as evidence that your injuries are not as bad as you claim. If you have been injured in a car accident, you should avoid posting photos, videos, status updates, communications, or any comments relating to the car crash, injuries, legal claims, or lawsuit to any social networking site.
Speaking to Anyone Before Talking to a Car Accident Lawyer in San Antonio
Other than obtaining information from the other driver and speaking to the police, you should never talk to anyone before talking to a San Antonio car accident lawyer. This is especially true when it comes to the insurance company. Insurance companies (even your own) are in the business of making money by delaying, denying, or underpaying claims. Insurance adjusters often request a recorded statement. They are trained to ask you questions that can trick you into hurting your case, making inconsistent statements, or answering questions about your injuries when it is too soon to know the full extent of your injuries (they know that the nature of these types of injuries, like neck and back pain from whiplash following a car crash, often have a delayed onset and often become increasingly worse over time).
After suffering injuries in a car accident, the insurance company might contact you and make an offer of settlement saying they want to resolve things quickly. They may hope that you accept the money before you know the full extent of your injuries and medical treatment that you need. The insurance company knows that the nature of some of these types of injuries, like neck and back pain from whiplash following a car crash, often have a delayed onset and often become increasingly worse over time. Once you accept a settlement, you usually release your legal claims and cannot come back later and ask for more money if your injuries are more serious than you first realized or if you need more medical treatment.
At the Law Office of Israel Garcia, our skilled attorney can speak to the insurance companies and the liable party on your behalf, so your legal rights are preserved and the amount of compensation for your injuries is not jeopardized or put at risk. Call or text us now at 210-LAW-9999 or chat with us online to schedule a free consultation.