People who get hurt in motor vehicle accidents often require costly medical care to treat their injuries. In some car accident cases, victims can pursue legal claims to hold at-fault parties accountable to pay for this care.
However, there are some common mistakes accident victims make that could prevent them from getting the compensation they deserve. Even worse, mistakes immediately after a car accident could result in worsened injuries and criminal law problems.
Here are six things you should never do after a vehicle accident to protect your health, your right to pursue financial damages and your criminal record:
Don’t move your car unless you have to: It’s not always possible to leave your car in the exact same position after a collision. For safety purposes, you may need to pull your vehicle onto the side of the road. However, if it’s safe to do so, don’t move it. It’s always better for police to examine the vehicles exactly as the crash left them.
Don’t stay in the “danger zone”: After a crash, if you’re able to get yourself to a safe place away from the flow of traffic, exit your vehicle and stand as far away from the roadway as possible. Do not inspect damage or stand in areas where you could get hit again — and even killed. Also, if your car is burning, get out of the vehicle immediately.
Don’t leave the accident site: It’s unlawful to leave a car accident site and doing so could cause criminal law problems and other legal challenges for you later down the road. Wait to leave until police dismiss you.
Don’t throw any evidence away: Clothing with blood stains, broken car parts and other potentially valuable evidence should never go in the garbage after your crash.
Don’t talk about fault: Don’t accuse other drivers of being at fault and don’t admit to being at fault yourself. Don’t even apologize. These kinds of statements could become evidence against you at a later time.
Don’t settle with insurance companies or other drivers without legal representation: Make sure your attorney reviews any potential settlements with insurance companies and/or other drivers relating to your accident.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s important to keep your wits about you immediately after the collision. Follow the above advice and use your common sense to avoid further injury and to protect your potential right to pursue a financial recovery.