Regardless of whether you’ve already been in a car accident or are one of the fortunate drivers who has avoided that situation thus far, you’ve probably asked this question at one point or another: What should you do after a car accident? Knowing what to do and who to turn to after a car accident — as well as knowing what no to do — is important when it comes to protecting your financial and physical well-being, since car accidents are the number-one reason people need to file (or are hit with) personal injury lawsuits. Here are some dos and don’ts that can put you in the best possible position if you end up dealing with an auto accident injury claim as either the plaintiff or defendant:
- DO: Call the Police Right Away
Calling the police feels scary, but it’s the smart thing to do. When the police get involved, they’ll file an official report that insurance companies or lawyers can use to make a stronger case in your favor.
- DON’T: Apologize or Take Responsibility
No matter how bad you feel about an accident, it’s important you not say anything that could be construed as admitting fault. Leave that determination up to the police.
- DO: Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t immediately feel that you’ve been injured, it’s a good idea to seek medical care. That way, if problems do arise later, you’ll have some medical backup for a claim against the other driver — and be able to get treatment for injuries that can become more serious over time.
- DON’T: Threaten a Lawsuit
Do your best to stay calm, and don’t threaten the other driver with a lawsuit. If you do end up needing to file a personal injury lawsuit to cover your expenses, that’s better decided with your lawyer and communicated in an official demand letter.
- DO: Reach Out to a Reputable Attorney
Fortunately, ambulance chasing is against professional conduct codes, so you shouldn’t run into predatory lawyers hoping to profit from your misfortune (and if you are directly contacted, you should report that to the Bar Association). But that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from the guidance of an experienced accident injury attorney, especially if there isn’t a clear-cut answer to who’s at fault for the accident.
What should you do after a car accident, in your experience? Share your advice in the comments.