You can find plenty of articles discussing what to do after a car accident. Call 911 to get a police report made and summon an ambulance if necessary. Don’t move someone who may have a broken back unless the car is on fire. Let’s look at what you should not do when dealing with a car accident.
Don’t Leave the Scene Until Everything Is Resolved
Don’t leave the scene because the person has pulled over and gotten out of their car. You don’t know if they or someone in their vehicle is hurt. Don’t wave at a pedestrian who was able to get off the ground, because you think they’re all right. Stop your vehicle, pull over out of traffic if possible, and talk to them. Verify that they are well enough to be left alone. If possible, take pictures of the scene and everyone involved. This will prove that you were present and their current condition. If someone called 911, don’t leave until after the police say you can leave.
Don’t Underestimate Your Injuries
Don’t assume you’ll be fine. See a doctor afterward. If anyone is acting strangely or is unusually tired, seek medical attention immediately. They may have a concussion or other brain injury. If someone is in intense pain, ask for a paramedic. You’d rather be told you’ll be fine after you go home and take pain relievers than ignore what turns out to be a broken bone.
Don’t Forget to Exchange Information
A common mistake people make when dealing with a car accident is forgetting to exchange information. Take pictures of their insurance card so that you won’t accidentally write it down wrong. Take more than one picture so that you won’t lose critical information because your thumb is in the way. Try to get a picture of their driver’s license, because this verifies their identity and gives you additional information should you need to track them down. This may be necessary if they have an expired or invalid insurance card.
Don’t Forget to Contact Your Insurance Company
Don’t try to settle the claim yourself. Contact your insurance company. Let them know about the accident as soon as possible. If you don’t inform them in a timely manner and the other person files a claim, the insurance company may hold it against you.
You can get into all kinds of trouble if you lie during or after an accident. If you lie to the officer during the police report, they may become suspicious of you. You could end up investigated and get a ticket for a minor issue, because they want to be proven right. Be willing to say “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure”. It is better to be uncertain than say yes and be proven wrong later. For example, you can get into trouble if you say you weren’t speeding, but evidence proves you did. If you say you feel fine but later press medical claims, the insurance company will fight it because you said you weren’t hurt after the accident.
Don’t Admit Fault
Don’t say anything that can be used against you. Don’t say you’re sorry. Don’t say it was your fault or partially your fault. Instead, inquire about the status of everyone inside. Ask whether or not their car needs to be moved out of the way. Ask for their information and take pictures of the scene.