Chances are, if you are a driver, you will be involved in a car accident at some point in time. NHTSA’s estimates show that an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2020, despite less driving due to the pandemic. So far, in 2021, the top three states for auto collisions were California, Texas, and Florida.
Accidents range from minor “bumper-bashings” to significant accidents with serious injuries as well as death.
Your actions immediately after the accident can have serious consequences for you. You should always seek medical attention first, and then begin the process of seeking legal action if you believe the accident was caused by the other driver.
Since Florida is a high-risk car accident state, you might find yourself in a collision there. If that happens, you could do no better than by appointing a skilled car accident lawyer from the Soffer Firm. Based in Miami, Florida, they’ve been dealing with car accident claims since 2013.
Sometimes it’s as important to know what you should not do as it is to understand what you should do, especially regarding liability. An accident is often a nerve-wracking event, and it’s essential to try to stay calm and be as helpful as possible.
So tag along, read further, and we will explore what NOT to do after an accident.
Do not admit fault
It may be tempting to admit fault after an accident, especially if you caused the accident. Resist this temptation at all costs.
Be very cautious what you say at the accident scene – loose utterances could negatively affect your case.
Any admissions made by yourself can be, and most probably will be, used against you by the other party or their representatives or even the police.
Instead of rushing to admit liability, concentrate on assessing the situation, make sure you offer any injured people medical assistance and co-operate with 911 and the police once they arrive.
It’s best to avoid all discussions around fault and only discuss liability privately with your attorney.
Do not lose your temper
Car accidents can be very stressful. Try to remain as calm as possible after the accident and don’t confront the other driver with an aggressive attitude and cuss them out – even if it was their fault.
Remember that many people are witnessing your actions, and they are all potential witnesses.
You need to be the person who is cool, calm and collected. Show concern for anybody who is injured and make sure that the safety of everyone is your top priority.
Do not leave the scene of the accident
Even if there appear to be no injuries and the damage is minor to the vehicles, you are obliged to report the accident, assess that everyone is OK, and exchange insurance information. It is a crime to leave the scene of the accident. Just don’t do it. Period.
Do not forget to call 911
If there are any injuries, you should call 911 immediately and give them clear directions on exactly where you are.
Remember that some injuries only show up long after the accident (such as whiplash). Immediately after the accident, you will experience an adrenaline rush that may mask any pain you feel.
Therefore, it’s best to get 911 responders to check you and all of your passengers to ensure no injuries require treatment.
Do not omit to call the police, and make sure you get a police report
The police report is one of your best pieces of evidence that the accident happened. The information will contain critical proof and may be used to establish fault at a later date.
Do not omit to get contact details of other drivers
Try to obtain the contact details of other drivers as well as their insurance details. Contact details and statements from any witnesses could prove invaluable later if facts are contested.
Do not forget to write down your recollection of events
Memories fade over time. Within a day or two, you should write down everything you remember about the event to refer to your musings later.
Be as comprehensive as you can be, being careful to record your recollection of how the accident happened.
Remember to write down the time and date and the weather and driving conditions if they were relevant.
Do not fail to take photos at the accident scene
We all carry cell phones, most of which have both camera and video capabilities. Use this to your advantage and take photos at the scene for your records. Licence plates, licence discs, skid marks, vehicle damage, and sustained injuries make invaluable subject matter.
Do not forget to report the accident to your insurance company
It is essential to advise your insurance company of the accident soon after the accident.
Do NOT admit fault to your insurance company.
Tell the truth but do not admit fault. This could affect your claim negatively.
Do not fail to appoint a car accident lawyer
If there are any significant injuries and damage to property, it is wise to appoint a car accident lawyer to protect your interests.
All communication will go through your attorney to all other parties, which will relieve you of a lot of stress and allow your matter to be handled professionally to your advantage.
Do not engage with insurance companies without your lawyer
Insurance companies are notorious for extracting information from people and then using this information to reduce the payout.
Lawyers are fully aware of these tactics and will assist you to stay out of trouble, especially when dealing with the other side’s insurance company.
Do not sign any settlement offers presented to you
Once you have appointed your lawyer, they will advise you to refrain from signing any settlement offers without consultation and legal advice.
Experience shows that first settlement offers are usually way below par, and your attorney will make sure that any offers you are allowed to sign are genuine and fair offers.
Since they deal with these issues daily, they will have a benchmark that will protect you.
Do not hide facts from your attorney
You must be one hundred percent candid with your lawyer.
Tell them your version warts and all. If they do not know your truth, they cannot represent you to the best of their abilities.
Accidents happen. Accidents are not fun. Make sure you avoid the pitfalls and do what you need to do if there is any chance of litigation or injury claims either against you or for you, it’s best to get a qualified, experienced lawyer to handle your matter for you.