A car crash is frightening, and you’re likely to feel overwhelmed. If you’re involved in a collision, take a moment to slow down and stay calm. The steps you take immediately after a car accident have a big effect on your potential personal injury case.
Before an accident occurs, it’s helpful to know what to do ahead of time, instead of trying to figure it out on the fly. Even if you never need to use this information, it’s better to be prepared to avoid common mistakes and give yourself a stronger foundation if you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
Some mistakes to avoid if you are in an accident:
Mistake #1: Admitting Guilt
Many people feel the urge to say “I’m sorry” after an accident, even if it wasn’t actually their fault. Although this is a natural impulse, it can be damaging to your case if you choose to pursue a claim. This is because it can be viewed as an admission of guilt. It is best to limit your communication with the other driver(s) to the essentials. Exchange the necessary information and remain polite, but don’t talk beyond that.
Mistake #2: Leaving the Scene
If the accident seems minor, you may be tempted to just let it go without exchanging information, but leaving the scene of an accident, even one that only caused property damage, is actually a misdemeanor, regardless of whether or not the other party seems ok with you leaving.
This is outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-662, and leaving the scene of an accident where an injury or death occurred is a felony (ARS 28-663). Both statutes apply even if you didn’t cause the accident.
You should also know that some injuries take time to appear after a car accident. Leaving without getting the vital information of the other driver(s) makes it very difficult for you to pursue a successful claim or legal action afterward, especially if you find out later that your injuries were more severe than they appeared at the time of the accident.
Mistake #3: Not Calling the Police
Even if the accident doesn’t seem serious, it’s in your best interest to have law enforcement present to investigate. You should obtain a copy of the police report. The responding officer(s) will gather evidence, establish a timeline of events, and officially document that the accident occurred.
Mistake #4: Not Gathering Evidence, If Possible
Your first priority should always be staying safe and getting medical care. If you are severely injured or the scene isn’t safe, you likely won’t be able to gather evidence and can leave this to the police. However, if you can, it’s a good idea to take photos and get the contact information of any witnesses. Write down your account of what happened as soon as possible.
Mistake #5: Not Seeking Medical Care
Some injuries do not appear right after an accident and could take days or weeks for you to notice. The adrenaline that is present after a crash makes it harder to tell sense pain and injuries.
Don’t assume you’re fine. See a doctor as soon as possible and have them document your injuries. Follow your doctor’s medical advice – not doing so could hurt your case and negatively affect your health.
Mistake #6: Trying to Handle Your Case Alone
You may think that it’ll be easier to just talk to an insurance adjuster and handle your case on your own. But the insurance company’s goal is to save themselves money, which means if at all possible, shifting the responsibility of your accident onto you. You may not get the compensation you deserve if you rely on their desire to look out for your best interests.
An attorney can help you navigate your case and your communication with the insurance companies, and will fight to achieve the best possible outcome.
Tucson Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been in a car crash in Tucson, call Grabb & Durando. Our team has decades of experience helping accident victims. Let us fight for you.