Car Accident DOs and DON’Ts
What to do, and what not to do, after a car accident
A crash can leave you confused and overwhelmed, so knowing what to do after a car accident can save you a lot of stress.
From fender benders to more serious accidents, there are a number of DOs and DON’Ts.
What to avoid after an accident
Let’s start with what NOT to do after an accident, because these steps can protect you from liability and help ensure that you receive the right coverage and resources, if you sustain any injuries.
- Do not sign a release. Insurance companies will often offer a release form as a way to move your claim forward quickly, but don’t take the bait. That release form could prevent you from receiving the full amount of coverage you will need after an accident, especially if you have injuries. Our attorney John Lee talks more about release forms in this helpful video:
- Do not admit fault. Exchange insurance information with the other parties at the scene, but don’t talk about the accident beyond that. The police and other officials will determine who bears the fault for the accident.
- Do not leave the scene. Even in the case of a fender bender, pull over. Ensure that the other parties are all right, exchange information and file a report with police.
- Do not refuse medical care. Even if you don’t have obvious signs of injury, it’s best to have a medical professional examine you after a serious car accident. If your head jerked back and forth in the impact, for example, you could have whiplash or a concussion.
What you should do
- Do take photos. Take as many photos as you can to help document the scene of the accident. This documentation can help officials determine the pertinent details of the case later on. Read more here about how to document the accident.
- Do gather contact information. Make sure to write down the names and phone numbers for each party involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses. Exchange insurance details with the other parties as well.
- Do watch for signs of injury. Even if you don’t show obvious signs of injury at the scene, monitor for any symptoms in the days and weeks following the accident. Pain in the neck and shoulders, headaches, dizziness, numbness and more can indicate injuries post-accident.
- Do contact your insurance company/companies. Although you don’t want to sign any releases, definitely contact both your auto insurance carrier and representatives for any additional insurance policies that might apply, such as an umbrella liability policy. Even if police rule the other driver at fault, your insurance might offer additional coverage.