Car accidents are not just an inconvenience, they are extremely stressful situations, but the decisions you make after an accident can have lasting consequences. So, what are the things you just absolutely not do after a car accident?
1. Don't leave the scene of an accident.
In Alabama, it is a misdemeanor if you flee the scene of an accident where there are not injuries. If there are injuries it is a felony to flee the scene. No matter what you do, do not leave the scene of an accident without speaking to the police and confirming you are ok to leave. The last thing you want to do is escalate a simple auto accident to a serious criminal offense because you decided to drive away. Violation of this statute can also result in having your license suspended.
2. Don't forget to report the accident to police.
Call the police after a car accident, even if you think it is minor. I know that it is going to further delay what is already a huge irritation and time sink. Often times though, days or even weeks after an accident people begin to show signs of injuries. If you failed to report the accident and document it, then it will be extremely difficult to recover for your injuries.
3. Don't speak to the other person's insurance adjuster.
After an accident the insurance companies start working immediately. They will try to get recorded statements from you while you are still shaken up from the accident. They will try to get you to commit to exact times, distances and speeds. Any of this information can and almost certainly will be used in an attempt to deny your claim for property or bodily injury damages. Contact an experienced car accident attorney and let the attorney talk to the adjusters for you. DON'T GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT PRIOR TO HIRING AN ATTORNEY.
4. Don't admit fault.
Do not admit fault while you are at the scene of the accident. Statements you make at the scene of the accident will be used against you. So keep that in mind when talking to the officers, medical personnel, witnesses, or even the other person involved in the car accident. Even saying "I'm so sorry" could result in the insurance denying your claim based on an admission of fault.
5. Don't lose your cool.
Most car accidents are just that accidents. Just because it is an accident doesn't mean you don't deserve to be compensated for the injuries or property damage caused by someone else's negligence. Losing your cool on the other person will not help you in getting compensated for your damages. In fact, it is likely to hurt your chances. Juries, the deciders of fact in most lawsuits, are going to help people they like. If evidence is presented in a trial that shows you lost your cool at the scene and cussed someone out over a car accident it is possible that the jury will hold that against you, and that may affect the amount of money you recover.
For more information check out my article on how much does it cost to hire a car accident attorney or what to consider when hiring a car accident attorney.