In the moments after a car accident, you will most likely be reeling from shock. Even if it was not a devastating accident, your body will be flooded with adrenaline, which may cause you to lose focus or not notice any injuries you may have sustained. This is why it’s important to have a plan in place to deal with the aftermath of a car accident before it happens and to know your rights when you are injured in an accident.
What your rights are after a car accident
It’s important to understand your rights when you’ve been involved in a car accident. Many people feel uncertain about what they can and can’t do after they’ve been involved in a car accident and end up making mistakes or not getting the right information. To avoid that, be prepared before your accident happens.
First and foremost, you must understand that you have the right compensation for injury and property damage if you suffered an accident due to someone else’s neglect. It’s important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to make sure that information and evidence is not lost. Sometimes, you may not notice the injuries you have sustained in an accident since things like concussions, whiplash, or muscle sprains can be overlooked in the excitement directly after an accident has occurred.
You are allowed to talk to witnesses and you shouldn’t feel afraid to do so. This is doubly important if you are the victim of a hit and run. Speak to witnesses the moment the accident happens and do not try to go back later. People will forget events not related to them very quickly, or their memories may get skewed.
You also do not have to talk to the other party. There is no law compelling you to speak to the other party about what caused the accident or who was at fault. Exchange contact and insurance information and contact a lawyer. You also do not need to speak to the other party’s insurance company or insurance investigator. The only people you need to speak to are the police.
What you shouldn’t do after a car accident
Don’t leave the scene
Even minor accidents may legally require a police report if the damage sustained exceeds a certain monetary amount. This amount varies widely by state, so unless you are seriously injured and need to be transported to the hospital immediately, it’s best if you stay at the scene of the accident and wait for first responders to arrive. If your cart is still functioning, try to move it to the side of the road if it is in a dangerous location.
Don’t agree to a private settlement
Drivers who do not have insurance or who were in the wrong may often try to offer to pay you out of pocket for the damage. However, without thoroughly assessing your vehicle’s damage and having a medical professional examine you, it will be almost impossible to gauge how much it will ultimately cost you to repair your car and recover from the accident.
Don’t admit anything
You may be tempted to apologize for the accident or to inadvertently admit blame to the other party but you have to refrain from making these civil niceties after a car accident. Even if you were just being polite, these statements can actually be considered an admission of fault.