How Not to Handle an Auto Accident
Car accidents can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved. Whether it is a little brush or a head-on-collision, the fact that it happens suddenly and out –of- nowhere means you were totally unprepared when a car accident happens. As difficult as a car crash experience can be, it can be even more difficult if you fail to do the right thing after you have had an accident. It is important therefore, that you take immediate and appropriate steps after an auto crash.
The fact that you are not at fault does not mean that you may not have to deal with certain issues and damages. This includes liability issues, a damaged vehicle that you will obviously need to repair, and you may also have to pay for a traffic ticket. If you are involved in a car crash, you have to take some steps. This is necessary to ensure that you and everyone else involved in the accident is safe. Proper documentation is also important for insurance and law enforcement reasons. These are the things you should do.
Now, there are 6 things you must NEVER do after a car crash. Why is it important that you know and avoid them? Because these mistakes are not only expensive, they are also illegal.
Leave the scene after an accident
You have a duty NOT to leave the scene of a car crash, even if it does not look serious and you think everyone is fine, because the other car too does not look seriously damaged. You DO NOT leave, but stop at the scene of the accident or the closest spot to the scene if you are trying not to block traffic. You must wait around and have a conversation with everyone involved in the crash to see how they are doing, give them your name, address and registration details and ask for theirs too. Then you must notify the appropriate authorities, and then wait around till help comes.
Failure to adhere to these steps means you have fled an accident scene, which is also called “a hit- and- run”
If you flee an accident scene where property has been damaged, then you may have committed a second degree misdemeanor and you may be slammed with a 60- day jail term or be asked to pay $500 in fines. The damage caused by the crash is what the law uses in determining the penalties you may face. Should someone be injured in the crash, leaving the scene may earn you a third degree crime charge and should this be the case, you may be looking at a 5 -year jail term or probation of 5 years, as well as a fine of $5,000.
If you are involved in a car crash, it is your duty to see if everyone involved is okay. This is the right thing to do.
Ignore to call 911 (especially if someone is hurt)
You would be making a very huge mistake to think that you can leave the scene of an accident without informing the police because no one has sustained any injury. This mistake can cost you a lot. Of course if someone has sustained injuries, it is obvious that you need to bring it to the attention of the authorities. The fact that it is minor does not make this step any less necessary. Even when you have seen that the damage is very little and you have spoken to the other person involved, be sure to inform the cops because they may have no insurance or even if they do, you are not sure it is up-to-date.
According to statistics, out of every six drivers on Tennessee roads, one has inactive insurance. If you are involved in a car accident with someone else, and unluckily for you they are carrying expired insurance, you are definitely paying for all medical expenses or repairs.
The reason for a police report is to show that your accident truly happened, and how it happened as well. Although there are areas where it is not necessary to have a police-filed report when no one has sustained injuries in an accident, you still need to have proof in your hands, so you don’t end up paying for something you are not responsible for and to also have claims quickly processed.
Yell or Scream at the person in the other car.
Of course, a car crash is a nerve wrecking experience but you cannot afford to let your emotions run out of control. It may be hard, but try not to yell at the other driver but ask them before anything else, whether they are fine or not.
What just happened is an accident, and even if the other driver is the one at fault, it is still an accident. This is why you need to calm down, stay on the accident scene, call the police and let them come and handle the situation.
While you are being calm, we cannot guarantee that the other driver will see things your way or act rationally too. In other to avoid a confrontation with an angry driver, stay cool and sit still in your car (with the door carefully locked though) Call the appropriate authorities and explain the situation to them.
Tell others that it was your fault.
Whatever you do, do not tell people an accident is your fault, even if you feel you should take responsibility. This is something that people with uncommon maturity do. They are quick to take responsibility in any situation, even if there was nothing they could have done to prevent such from happening. But even in a situation whereby you could have done something to prevent the accident, as long as you were following al the rules, it was not your fault.
This way you would be saving yourself huge medical and car repair bills. What to do? Simply provide the law enforcement agents with your factual statement and let them take it from there.
Factual is the key word here, do not tell the officers a lie, it would not help your case at all, if your lie is discovered
Not collecting data from the car wreck
There is need for you to collect evidence from the scene of the car crash. Why is this important? The scene is going to be swept clean soon and all you would be left with is your word against the word of the other driver and the police report. While the officers would try to cover and record as much information as possible, they are not super humans and you should go the extra mile of recording as much information as you can. Take pictures of the cars involved in the accident, and be sure to have the information of the driver information attached to your paperwork along with your copy of the police report.
Your attorney would find it easier to fight for your rights when you make enough information available. If you fail to do this, the truth may be lost and even though you are the victim of the accident, you could get practically nothing at the end of the day.
Protect your own interest and get all the information and data that would help you case.
Ignore the Aftermath
As traumatic as a car wreck could be, failing to do a follow-up will not make things s easier. You may need to get medical or legal advice.
Go for a medical check- up to see how you are doing medically and do not delay. If you discover that you are sinking in a mire of huge medical bills, do not hesitate to hire a lawyer. If the other driver involved in the accident is prepared for a legal war, you would be smart to get one for yourself too.
You need to be aware though, that, registering your insurance claim cannot be delayed, as some insurance companies have time limits on when claims can be filed. Have knowledge of what is covered by your own insurance company and what is not. Find out as well, what the law in your state says, whether any of the involved drivers has been slammed with “fault”. You can also choose the repair shop where you would love for your vehicle to be taken care of.
Don’t be afraid to stay on top of the insurance companies, too. Keep in constant contact with them and with the repair shop. After all, you want to get this resolved quickly and correctly so you can get on with your life, right?
Contact Jeff Roberts & Associates, PLLC, if you were injured in an accident and need assistance working through this often difficult process. We have an trained staff of professionals who are trained to handle every unique situation to assure you are protected.