Car accidents are a leading cause of death in the U.S., causing at least 38,800 deaths in 2019. You’ll always think that a motor vehicle accident won’t happen to you, but no matter how careful a driver you are, you never know what’s around the corner.
It’s wise to be prepared, should the worst ever happen. Here are five things you should never do if you’re involved in a car accident:
- Flee From a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you get into a car accident, you might feel shocked, overwhelmed, and scared. Many people’s first instinct is to run and get away from the situation. Resist that instinct and stay at the scene.
Fleeing from a motor vehicle accident, even one that wasn’t your fault, is still illegal. Check to see if everyone is okay and exchange insurance information to avoid any legal complications down the line.
- Fail to Call the Police
If you’re in a car accident, the next thing you need to do is call law enforcement. Even if you think it’s a harmless crash, failing to call the police can also lead to legal repercussions later.
By law, an auto accident needs to have a report filed with the relevant authorities. It’s not always about assigning blame or even starting an investigation either. Alerting the authorities and having a record on file will also make things easier with insurance companies later on.
It’s in everyone’s best interests to call the police immediately, so don’t be persuaded out of doing so by anyone at the scene either.
- Admit Fault
During discussions of the accident, it’s important to also not admit any fault for the crash. The DMV advises not admitting fault after a car accident.
Many people feel obliged to own up if they think they’ve made a mistake, especially if accident injuries occurred. However, this is not the time to do so. Any fault to do with the accident will be worked out through an investigation and admitting fault early might leave you legally exposed to liabilities.
What’s more, you might be confused or not thinking clearly at the time. Early admissions of guilt could be used against you later on, even when the fault actually didn’t lie with you.
- Sign a ‘Quick-Hit’ Release
One of the most common auto accident mistakes is to be persuaded into signing a ‘quick-hit’ release form. Some insurance companies put pressure on people to sign these releases for a small sum of money in the first few days after an accident.
This can often seem tempting to people, to pay off medical bills or fix up a car. Nonetheless, this can then let your insurance company off the hook for paying any medical bills at a later time. That will leave you paying the majority of the bills, all when the responsibility should actually lie with the insurance company.
- Fail to Call a Lawyer
You can avoid many of the mistakes above by doing one simple thing: calling a car accident attorney. These specialized lawyers will advise you on what to do first, how to handle insurance, and navigate any subsequent investigations on your behalf.
Car accidents are always a stressful period. Make life easier for yourself by handing over the hardest parts of the process to a trained professional.
Keen to Find Out More?
Having this kind of information in your back pocket before you get into a motor vehicle accident is always useful. To continue learning about what’s best to do if disaster should ever strike, why not browse further articles on our law blog?
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so store up this important legal information, should you ever need to use it.