If you are one of the thousands of people involved in a car accident in Texas, you may know of some things you should do after a vehicle crash, but there are also some things you should not do. Certain actions, or failure to take an action, may be fatal to a later personal injury claim for damages.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
There are some real specific things you should not do after a car accident. A few of them are:
Do not flee the accident scene. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if it was a low impact accident, some drivers may just drive away. Do not do this. You are required by law to check with the other driver to see if anyone was hurt. You and the other driver should exchange insurance information.
Do not fail to call the police. If someone is injured, or the repair to a car looks like it will be $1,000 or more, the police must be called to prepare an accident report. This documents the time and place of the accident and may provide other supporting details if you later need to file a claim for damages due an injury or to get your car fixed.
Do not admit fault. The human tendency is to say, “I’m sorry” even if the accident was not your fault. This phrase can come back to haunt you later if you have a claim for damages. The other party may accuse you of admitting fault because you were nicely expressing your concern. In addition to not saying “I’m sorry,” do not use any other term that makes it seem as though you are admitting the accident was your fault when it wasn’t.
Do not say you are not injured when you don’t know. People who feel okay after a car accident may later actually discover they were hurt after all. The adrenaline released during the aftermath of an accident may mask a real injury. People often think the soreness they have had for several days will go away and sometimes it doesn’t because the real injury hasn’t been diagnosed or treated. Asserting you are not injured or that you are feeling OK may be used against you later and make it difficult for you to collect the damages you deserve for your injury.
Speaking to the insurance adjuster without advice from your attorney. The insurance adjuster for the other driver will call you very soon after the accident to ask questions. You should not speak to them without your own attorney being present or at least giving you advice about how to respond. Whatever you say can be held against you in later settlement negotiations or at trial.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact us at Springer & Lyle for a free consultation.