If you’ve been involved in a car accident, whether it’s a serious accident or a “fender bender”, there are several important steps that you should take to ensure your rights are protected. Being familiar with the steps to follow after a car accident is important for all drivers, whether at fault or not, and whether injured or not.
What many drivers may not realize is that there are also a number of things you should NOT do following the accident. These steps are, in many situations, just as important as the items you should do when involved in a car accident!
What are some steps that you should NOT do after being involved in an automobile accident?
- Do not wait to get medical help
Following an accident, getting medical assistance for yourself or others should never be delayed for any reason. Even if the injury appears minimal, an ambulance should be called immediately if you or another individual are injured to any extent or are experiencing pain. All injuries, even minor ones, should be assessed as soon as possible to determine whether further diagnostic measures, and treatment, are necessary. Getting medical assistance is the very first step to take in all accident situations, no matter how minor the injury may appear to be at the scene.
- Do not leave the scene
Car accidents can be frightening and overwhelming, and as a result your first instinct after one occurs may be to flee. However, leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. You should remain at the scene to provide assistance to those who may have been injured, to exchange identification and insurance information with the other persons who were involved in the collision, and to communicate with law enforcement and medical personnel who arrive to assist those involved.
- Express sympathy but do not admit fault or apologize
While apologizing may feel like the right thing to do after you’re involved in a car accident, a simple apology may inadvertently turn into an admission of liability—if there is any question in your mind about who is at fault. A misplaced apology may be used later in a lawsuit by the other side.
- Do not provide a statement of any kind to the other driver’s insurance company
After an accident occurs, it’s common for the other driver’s insurance company to reach out for information about what happened. The claims representative may be very friendly and even “suggest” that your right to sue may be jeopardized if you don’t cooperate in providing a recorded statement by telephone or in allowing him to meet with you to “discuss” what happened. You are under NO OBLIGATION to talk with or meet with the claims representative and your refusal to do so WILL NOT in any way affect your right to bring suit against a negligent driver. Direct any inquiries about the incident to your lawyer, if you’ve retained one, or to your insurance company. Avoid providing any information—claims representatives are trained to ask questions in such a way that may result in the truth being distorted by the way a seemingly innocuous question is answered.
- Do not agree to have an investigator or claims representative come to your house to discuss a “quick resolution” of your claim
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you probably will be able to pursue a claim for pain and suffering, and in addition, possibly for lost wages, benefits and permanent injury. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will answer questions, handle the No Fault claim to ensure payment of medical bills, and advise you of your rights. It is commonplace for the insurance company for the negligent driver to contact the injured person and propose a “quick resolution” of the claim. Sometimes, misrepresentations of the laws governing personal injury claims are made, perhaps not directly but impliedly. The critical fact to bear in mind is that the other driver’s insurance company is NOT ON YOUR SIDE. By definition, they are on the side of THEIR INSURED and therefore while they may be very friendly, they are not on your side and will not make any settlement offer that represents the true value of your claim. Agreeing to a “quick resolution” of your claim without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney will likely prevent you from obtaining the compensation you deserve.
The Car Accident Attorneys at Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany Can Help!
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Clifton Park, Saratoga or anywhere in the Capital Region, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Each with decades of experience, the award-winning personal injury attorneys at Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany possess a thorough comprehension of the legal principles of negligence and other concepts important to personal injury law. Their decades of experience handling car accident cases can help you to obtain the compensation you are entitled to following an automobile accident.
Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany have obtained record setting verdicts and settlements for past clients in the Capital Region, establishing themselves as successful upstate New York car accident lawyers. They have the knowledge and the resources you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and feel someone else may be at fault, call the lawyers at Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany at (518) 785-4900 to schedule a free consultation. You can also fill out the form on our website to schedule a free case review. Contact us today!