Car accidents can easily turn even a calm person into a cauldron of rage and resentment. But even with poor impulses, there are a handful of things you shouldn't ever do after a car accident.
Insurance and patience can solve many of your car accident woes, as well as remembering what not to do or say. Here are a few suggestions:
- Do not leave the scene. After a possibly grisly accident, you may feel the impulse to get in a cab or a friend's car and just go home. Ignore that impulse, as fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime. In some cases it can be a felony, and you don't need to add criminal charges to your list of problems after an accident.
- Do not start apologizing. Normally, it is a great custom to apologize to someone when you feel you might be at fault, but not after a car accident. A simple "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention" may turn into an admission of liability if the matter goes to court.
- Do not lose your cool. Stomping around and shouting your favorite obscenities may feel great, but it will add ammunition to any potential case against you.
- Do not talk with the other driver's insurance company or attorney. Odds are that the other parties in the accident will have their insurance companies and/or attorneys contact you to drill you for information about the accident. It's best to not speak with them about the incident. Take a deep breath and tell them to contact your insurance company or your attorney.
- Do not jump on the first settlement offer. If the accident reaches a stage where the insurance companies and attorneys are discussing settlement, make sure not to just accept the first offer that comes your way. Consider each offer carefully in light of your expenses, damages or medical bills, and discuss it with your attorney before going forward.
- Car Accident Checklist: 5 Things to Do at the Scene (FindLaw's Injured)
- Legal How-To: Filing a Minor Car Accident Claim (FindLaw's Injured)
- Is There a Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles (CarAccidentsInLA.com)