Car crashes are stressful. It’s not usual for someone involved in a crash to forget best practices and make mistakes at the scene and in the days after. To help you avoid these missteps and make your recovery as smooth as possible, we’ve put together these 10 car accident dos and don’ts.
Do Get a Police Report
As we discussed previously, calling the police after a crash is one of the best things you can do for your recovery. A police report demonstrates the facts of the wreck and who was involved. This proves to the insurance company that a crash occurred in the way you claim and who was injured as a result.
Don’t Leave Without Exchanging Information
This is, arguably, the most serious mistake a driver can make after a crash. People who have never been in a crash before tend to panic and forget what they’re supposed to do. Sometimes this means allowing the other driver to pressure them out of collecting information or forgetting to exchange insurance information altogether.
Ideally, you should have the following information from the other driver before leaving the scene of the crash:
Driver’s License Number
Insurance Policy Number
Phone Number and Email
License Plate Number
Pictures of the damages
If the other driver won’t talk to you or they try to flee the scene, make sure you get their license plate number and photos of the damages. Contact an attorney immediately if you’re ever in a car crash where the other driver flees without exchanging information.
Do Go to the Doctor
After the crash, do not go back to work or go home to relax. You should go directly to either the hospital or the doctor’s office, depending on the severity of your injuries. Going to the doctor immediately gives you the best chance at identifying, documenting, and treating your injuries before they get any worse.
Don’t Wait For Your Injuries to Get Worse
Sometimes, adrenaline pumping through you after the crash can numb you to the full extent of your injuries. This leads some people to believe they weren’t injured until they experience symptoms and pain a few days later.
If you wait to see a doctor, your injuries will be harder to treat, and the insurance company may even question whether the crash caused your injuries. It’s always safer to go to the doctor immediately after the crash, even if you’re not in immediate pain.
Do Report the Crash
Most car insurance policies require that you report an accident as soon as it is safe to do so. To this point, you should contact your insurance company as soon as you’re able, but keep your comments to a minimum. Let them know that you were involved in a crash and provide them with the other driver’s insurance information. After that, refuse further questions about the crash and politely end the call.
Don’t Agree to a Recorded Statement
Be extremely cautious about your wording if the insurance company asks you for a statement or if you hear “this call may be recorded” when you pick up the phone. Anything you say to the insurance companies may be used to shift fault or potentially reduce your settlement. Remember that it’s best to let your attorney do the negotiating.
Do Attend Routine Appointments
Once you’ve established a treatment plan at the doctor’s office, make sure you attend all your appointments and avoid rescheduling whenever possible. The insurance company could use skipped follow-up appointments to question the severity of your injuries and justify a lower settlement. Keep attending appointments until your doctor says you are back to health.
Don’t Post on Social Media
Avoid posting on social media until your case is resolved. So much as posting a picture of the damages and letting your friends know you’re okay could open your account to a subpoena. If that happens, the insurance company may go through all of your posts and private messages, looking for anything (even offhand comments) that might suggest fault in the crash or that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim.
Do Contact an Attorney
As you can see, navigating a car crash is extremely complicated. That’s why it’s often a good idea to hire an attorney to manage your case for you. Once you hire an experienced car accident attorney from Portner & Shure, P.A., they’ll fight for your recovery, handling all the paperwork and phone calls while you focus on feeling better.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!
Remember that you have a limited amount of time from the date of your injury to file a claim and pursue the full damages you’re entitled to under the law. Don’t wait to contact an attorney. If you believe you have a case, today is the best time to get started.
To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Virginia car accident attorney from Portner & Shure, P.A., don’t hesitate to call (855) 954-4141 or send us an email.