Being in a car accident can be one of the most frightening experiences in a person’s life. Besides the shock and pain of potential injuries, there are many logistical considerations, especially if the accident requires you to deal with insurance companies or the legal system. The following will explore some of the things you can do to protect yourself from being determined at fault in an accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Before we begin, you must visit a healthcare practitioner after an accident. Even if you feel like you’re okay, things like shock can keep you from understanding the full extent of your injuries. Contrary to popular belief, most of the time, the damage was done in a car accident isn’t visible outside the body. The most significant harm doesn’t happen because you hit the dashboard or the airbags; it comes from your organs hitting your bones inside you as you go from a high-speed to a complete stop so quickly. Beyond this, some types of injuries only reveal themselves gradually. Make sure to describe all symptoms and sensations you are experiencing, even if they feel unrelated. Some types of brain and spinal cord injuries manifest themselves in strange ways.
Stay On The Scene Until The Authorities Arrive
One of the worst things you can do immediately after an accident is to flee the scene. Some judges might even consider this an admission of guilt. Of course, if you’re being taken to the hospital, that’s a different story. Stay on-site, somewhere safe, until the police arrive.
Say As Little As Possible While On The Scene
Be careful what you say while on the scene. It is second nature for many people to apologize when they see others in pain; however, this can be considered an admission of guilt in many states. It is completely fine to tell the police you’re a little shaken up and you want to speak to someone before you comment on the accident. You might be very emotional given the scare you’ve just had. Refrain from taking your frustrations out on the other driver or the police. This won’t help you and might even make things worse. If the other driver is being particularly aggressive or shouting, you can record the conversation on your phone.
Get As Much Information At The Scene As Your Can
Take photos and videos of everything possible at the scene of the accident. This means taking wide shots involving the entire scene and close up pictures of everything involved. Try to get a photo through the driver’s window as well—things like spilled coffee, a phone on the floor near where the driver’s feet are, or food scattered throughout can be used to determine whether or not the other party was distracted driving.
Ensure you exchange license plate numbers, driver’s license information, and contact information with the other drivers involved. Both of you will be required to have this information, so there is no point in refusing to share it. You might also want to get the contact information of any witnesses. Usually, the police will do this for you, but you can ask if they don’t.
Seek Out Legal Counsel
After an accident, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to meet with a lawyer. It’s ideal to do this before you reach out to your insurance policy provider. You want someone specializing in the type of law you’re dealing with—the more specific their specialty, the better. If, for example, you were in an accident involving a large truck, you’ll want to look for a semi-truck accident attorney. Each area of law takes years of focused practice and training to master.
Don’t Post About The Accident On Social Media.
It can be hard not to direct your built-up emotions to the internet, but you must avoid doing this. Your social media interactions, related or unrelated to the accident, can be accessed by lawyers and insurance company employees. In recent years, the number of legal proceedings influenced by social media has skyrocketed. Something as simple as liking a friend’s photo of their dog could make it seem like an accident didn’t emotionally impact you. Until everything is settled, stay away from social media unless specifically directed by an attorney.
You also want to reach out to someone who practices law in the state where the accident occurred. This is because each state has its own rules and regulations. Even in cases where the law is the same across states, the local judges have different presidents set by past cases and different law interpretations.
By following the above steps, you are well on your way to protecting yourself after an accident. Of course, these are only preliminary tasks. Once you speak to a lawyer, you’ll be advised what is best for you to do or say given your particular accident.