5 Things To Avoid After An Auto Accident
Most experienced drivers know all the steps to take after an accident. But do you know what not to do? Car accidents happen quickly and, in most cases, unexpectedly. With your adrenaline pumping and your emotions running high, there’s a good chance you won’t exactly be thinking straight after an accident happens. Knowing what to avoid ahead of time will help you keep a cool head and walk away knowing you protected your interests.
1. Leave The Scene Of An Accident
It’s late, you’re driving home from work, and you tap the rear bumper of the driver in front of you. There is barely any damage and no one appears to be injured. Although you might be tempted to shrug your shoulders and drive away, you should never leave the scene of an accident – no matter how minor it may seem. Under Arkansas law, drivers involved in car accidents that result in property damage or personal injury are required to provide their personal and insurance information as well as help others injured in the accident. Although an accident might appear insignificant, you should always stay at the scene until police tell you it is okay to leave. Failure to stop could result in a hit-and-run charge, which is a Class D felony in Arkansas.
2. Fail To Notify The Police
When minor accidents occur, drivers are sometimes tempted to simply exchange information and “shake on it.” As long as there are no injuries and you have the other person’s insurance information, you’re good to leave, right? Wrong.
According to the Insurance Research Council, one in six drivers is uninsured. You have no way of knowing that the other driver is supplying you with accurate information. By contacting the police, you can at least obtain an accident report, which is something most insurance companies require before they will begin processing a claim.
3. Let Anger Get The Best Of You
There’s no question that a car accident can thoroughly ruin your day. When you’re in a collision caused by another driver’s recklessness, it is easy to become enraged. Resist the impulse to start yelling at the other driver or making a scene. Stay calm and focused rather than belligerent and abusive.
4. Admit Fault
The things you say at the scene of an accident can come back to haunt you months later. Admissions of liability can leave you vulnerable to a lawsuit. They can also hurt your ability to bring a successful claim against the other driver. Whether you were at fault or not, the other driver’s insurance company will seize upon any admissions of liability you made after the accident and attempt to use these statements to discredit your claim down the road.
5. Fail To Follow-Up
As much as you would like to put the accident behind you, dealing with the aftermath is just as important as dealing with the accident at the scene. If you are hurt, your first step should be to see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you feel okay, you should still consult with your physician, as many accident injuries don’t show up until days or even weeks after a crash. Your next step should be to call your insurance company and your attorney. If you have suffered injuries or property damage, make sure you work with your attorney to preserve your claim.