A car crash can be a traumatic experience. In the aftermath, it’s easy for one to get overwhelmed by the pain and emotions. Unfortunately, it’s at this time that you need to keep a level head despite the pressure not to. That’s because what you do after the accident will have a profound impact on your liability. Certain post-crash mistakes can place your legal position at a considerable disadvantage. We look at some of these errors below.
1. Admitting Liability
There’s arguably no faster means of increasing your liability than admitting liability. And admitting liability can occur when engaging in routine, seemingly harmless conversation with the other party, their attorney, the police or an insurance provider.
Whereas you should be sincere about the events, avoid being guilt-tripped or boxed into a corner that forces you to admit it was your fault. Admitting liability means you and your insurer will be required to pay damages. Engage car wreck lawyers as soon after the crash as possible and have anyone who wants to talk to you channel their questions through your attorney.
2. Leaving the Scene Immediately
If a car accident involves death, injury or property damage, you must stop your car immediately. If you don’t do so and instead opt to leave the scene, you could be charged with breaking the law. Immediately after a collision, stop, call 911 and wait until law enforcement arrive at the scene. If anyone requires emergency healthcare, law enforcement will dispatch someone.
Stopping is also quite simply an act of common decency. When someone is seriously injured after a crash, the speed with which they receive emergency medical care can determine whether they survive and make a recovery.
3. Failure to Call 911
We have mentioned that one of the things you should do when you stop is dial 911. While this step is essential to ensuring emergency services arrive at the scene in the shortest time possible to take care of the injured, there are also ramifications on any claim you file. Even when it’s a minor crash and no one is hurt, make sure the incident is captured in a 911 call and the subsequent police report.
The police report is a crucial piece of evidence that plays a role in determining who is at fault in the event of a lawsuit. The report will contain vital clues on the accident including road conditions, witnesses and the sequence of events that led to the crash.
4. Losing Your Temper
Emotions may run high after a car crash. If you believe the other driver was at fault in an accident that led to the death or serious injury of your loved one, it’s only natural that you’d want to exact some form of vengeance. Nevertheless, such vengeful action would only compound your legal problems. Anger also makes it harder for you to make the quick rational life-saving decisions required after an accident.
Irrespective of the gravity of what has happened, keep your cool. It doesn’t matter if the other party makes provocative statements. Once you call 911, keep calm and let the police take charge of the situation.
5. Failure to Document the Accident
Knowledge is power. The more information you can gather on the accident, the better your chances of reducing your liability. Failure to document the crash makes it harder for you to prove your side of the story in court.
If you have a smartphone or camera with you, take photos of the scene. Do this as soon as the crash occurs because once emergency services and law enforcement arrive, they’ll likely clear the wreckage from the road to allow the smooth flow of traffic.
Take down the names, contacts, license plate numbers and insurance details of all parties to the accident. Talk to witnesses, get their contact information and write down or record what they saw. Note the date, time and weather conditions.
Knowing what you need to do after an accident is the first step to protecting your rights. Apply these tips and strengthen your position in the event of a claim or lawsuit.