What Not to Do After an Accident

Date: March 31, 2014

Nobody likes to think about being in an accident, yet planning ahead for the possibility of an accident is important. Many accident victims jeopardize their health, safety and legal rights because they make critical mistakes after an accident. This is usually because the victims are in shock and aren’t prepared to deal with the complex legal and medical issues that follow an unexpected event.

You can protect yourself by thinking ahead and knowing what you should, and should not do, after an accident.

Here are five mistakes that many accident victims make… avoid them as much as possible!

1. Admitting Fault

It’s understandable that you might want to apologize after an accident, particularly if the other party or parties are distraught. Unfortunately, such statements can come back to haunt you. Check to see if other parties were hurt, but don’t admit to being at fault for what happened.

2. Refusing Medical Attention

It’s possible to be seriously injured after an accident without knowing it. Accept medical attention and allow a physician to determine the extent of your personal injuries. If you refuse medical attention and develop complications later, you may have a hard time proving that the accident caused your health problems.

3. Not Contacting the Police

Resist the urge to drive away after an accident, even if the other party wants to do so. Driving away could end in a hit-and-run charge and serious complications in a civil lawsuit. Protect yourself by calling the police to file a report, no matter what.

4. Losing Track of Paperwork

It’s easy to get disoriented in the days and weeks following an accident. Still, it’s important that you keep track of accident-related communications and paperwork. Keep a record of phone calls, save emails and be sure to keep copies of police and medical reports in a safe place.

5. Failing to Get Legal Advice

Many individuals miss opportunities to protect their legal and financial interests because they don’t get legal advice right after an accident. A personal injury attorney can review your case andgive you straightforward advice on protecting your assets.

6. Not Replacing Children’s Car Seats

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that children’s car seats be replaced after moderate and severe auto accidents.

Accidents can be frightening, but by avoiding these common after-accident occurrences, you can ensure that your emotional, physical and mental recovery process goes as smoothly as possible.

Patrick Dougherty
Lecturer for the PA Trial Lawyers Association and the PA Bar Institute. Board Certified In Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy