Nobody ever plans on getting into a car accident, but when it happens it is good to know what to do. Often times, individuals that get in car accidents find themselves in a frantic or panicked mental state because of the adrenaline rush that naturally occurs as a self defense mechanism. For this reason, many people don’t calmly and rationally evaluate the situation and fall victim to common myths about car accidents. The following are three common myths about car accident cases that everyone should be aware of.
Myth #1: It Was Just A Minor Accident – So It Is Okay To Leave The Scene.
Don’t believe this myth. Although every state has different laws, it is not a good idea to leave the scene of any accident. Leaving the scene of an accident could result in a misdemeanor charge against you – even if it seemed like no one was injured or the property damage was minimal.
You should do the following:
- Safely pull over to the side of the road and check to see if anyone is injured.
- If the other driver does not stop, try to get the license plate, make and model of the car.
- If there are any injuries, or property damage, call the police to report the accident.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Exchange driver license information.
- Get their license plate number.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Pictures are helpful to establish the date, time, place, weather conditions, and other important information regarding the car accident.
- Avoid making any statements about the accident to the other driver – but cooperate with them in exchanging information.
- If the police arrive, make a complete statement to them, but do not admit fault.
- Get the names and contact information for any eye witnesses, and find out what they observed.
- Inform your insurance company of the accident within 24 hours to make a claim
- Go to the doctor to so they can evaluate if you have sustained any injuries.
- If you have been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Myth #2: I Don’t Need to See A Doctor – I Feel Fine.
If you were jolted in anyway during the accident, you should seek an evaluation from a doctor. It is important to establish a record of your physical symptoms and conditions from the start. Seemingly minor injuries can worsen over time, and result in chronic pain if not properly treated. If you postpone receiving treatment, the insurance companies may deny reimbursement for medical treatment due to a “gap” in treatment. It is always better to play it safe and seek medical treatment after a car accident.
Myth #3: My Insurance Company Will Take Care Of Everything – I Don’t Need An Attorney.
Depending on what state you live in, if you were not at fault, your insurance may play a minimal role in helping you recover damages from the at fault driver’s insurance. The other driver’s insurance is definitely not going to look out for you – they want to pay you bottom dollar and have you waiver your claims against them immediately. If you were seriously injured, do not make any statements to the other driver’s insurance company without talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers do not charge upfront for their services, they typically take a percentage of the amount they recover for you. Most attorneys negotiate settlements that will not only cover their fees, but get you a higher settlement (even after taking the attorney’s fees into consideration) than you would receive working directly with the insurance company. Let anOrange County Personal Injury Attorney deal with the headache of negotiating with insurance companies and medical providers, so you can focus on getting better and moving on with your life.
Thanks to our colleague and contributor from Chudleigh Law P.C. for his insights into common myths about car accident cases.