What NOT to Do After a Car Accident

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Learn how to take the right steps – and avoid taking the wrong ones – in the aftermath of a car accident.

What Not to Do After Car Accident Injury

The moments following a car accident can be harrowing. You may not know what to say or not say and who you can or cannot talk to about what happened. As a result, you may end up saying all the wrong things to all the wrong people. Knowing what not to do after a car accident can provide you with the ability to hold those responsible for the accident to account. Taking the proper steps following an accident can sometimes strengthen the chances that your claim will be successful.

As a Houston car accident lawyer, Sutliff & Stout specializes in working with car accident victims to pursue compensation if the accident resulted from the carelessness and negligence of another. However, knowing what not to do after a car accident can ensure that you don’t compromise your claim before it even gets off the ground.


Things NOT to Do after a Car Accident

Knowing what not to do after a car accident can ensure that you don’t inadvertently make your claim any more challenging than it might already be.

1. Leave the scene.

Texas law requires anyone who has been in a car accident involving injury to a person, death, or property damage to immediately stop their vehicle. If you fail to do this and leave the scene of a car accident, you could be charged with a crime. See Texas Penal Code § 550.021.

You should never leave the scene of a car accident. Call 911, and wait until police officers arrive to take a police report. If anyone needs medical assistance, police will dispatch emergency medical personnel to the scene of the car accident.

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2. Forget to call 911.

Some people mistakenly believe that it is okay not to call 911 if nobody is hurt in a car accident. This is simply not true. If you have been involved in a car accident, regardless of how serious the accident was, call 911.

A police report can be crucial to establishing who was at fault for the accident in a subsequent lawsuit. A police report will include critical information about the car accident, including road conditions, names and contact information of witnesses, and an official write-up of how the accident occurred.

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3. Lose your cool.

A car accident can be a very upsetting experience. After a car accident, your emotions are likely running high. Do not lose your cool and become angry or upset with the other parties involved, even if the accident was their fault.

Try to remain calm and see to it that everyone who was involved in the car accident gets the help they need.

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4. Forget to document the car accident.



You should also take down details about the time and date the accident occurred, as well as conditions (such as rain or snow) that were present. Record license plate numbers and other important information.

If you forget to document a car accident, it can be difficult to prove what happened in court should you or another party file a lawsuit. Your insurance provider will also want to know this information.

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    5. Admit fault.

    You should not admit fault at the scene of a car accident or in conversation with an insurance provider afterwards. Be honest about what happened, but avoid saying things like, “It was all my fault.”

    These types of statements can be used against you later by insurance companies, which will likely try to avoid paying for damage caused in the accident, or by the other parties involved in the accident, who may file a lawsuit against you.

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    6. Neglect the aftermath.

    Being involved in a car accident is difficult enough, but the hard part often comes afterwards. You may have to seek medical treatment if you were hurt.

    You will need to contact your insurance provider, and may have to field calls from the insurance providers of the other parties involved. You may even be served with legal papers.

    If you neglect to follow up on these sometimes pesky tasks, things will only get worse. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you deal with the consequences and aftermath of a car accident.

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    7. Speak to the other party’s insurance company without a lawyer.

    Insurance companies will try to get you to settle your claims for as little as possible. It is risky to speak with the other party’s insurance company without a lawyer.

    They will ask you to record a statement about what happened in the accident and may try to use your statements against you during the claims settlement process or in a subsequent lawsuit.

    A lawyer with experience handling car accident lawsuits can communicate directly with insurance company representatives on your behalf.

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    8. Enter into an unfair settlement agreement.

    If you believe that an insurance company is trying to lowball you during the claims settlement process, do not enter into a settlement agreement. A car accident lawyer can help you better understand whether the settlement you are being offered is fair.

    A settlement offer may also arise in the context of a lawsuit. Do not enter into settlement negotiations, which are complicated legal discussions, without the assistance of a car accident lawyer.

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    9. File a lawsuit on your own.

    You may be tempted to file a lawsuit after a car accident on your own, also known as “pro se.” But this can be a risky decision, and end up costing you money in the long run. It might also result in having your suit dismissed.

    Most lawsuits that are brought after a car accident involve complicated legal claims. A lawyer can help you understand the legal process and will represent your interests in court.

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    10. Discuss the accident with the other party.

    Discussing the accident with the other driver can jeopardize your claim, especially if you apologize or claim responsibility in any way. Don’t theorize what may have happened or discuss the specifics of the crash. A simple apology may be construed as guilt down the road.

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    11. Provide a written statement to your insurance company.

    Provide only as much information as you are required to when speaking with your insurance company. Refrain from providing a written or recorded statement until you can speak to a Houston car accident lawyer. Your insurance company may try to use what you say in your statement to get out of processing your claim down the road.

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    12. Allow anyone to access your medical records.

    The more information that your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company have about your medical background, the more likely it is that they will attempt to use it to deny your claim. The only person that should be allowed to access your medical records following a car accident is your attorney of record.

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    13. Post anything about the accident on social media.

    One of the biggest mistakes people make is posting pictures and narratives about the accident on social media. Understandably, you want friends and family to know what happened to you, but this can risk your entire claim. The information posted on social media can be used to minimize or even deny your claim both by the other party’s insurance company and your own.

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    14. Decline to hire a car accident lawyer.

    If you were involved in an accident where anyone was injured or serious property damage occurred, you should hire a lawyer. To learn more about the signs you should seek advice from an attorney after a car accident, click here.

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    What You Should Do after a Car Accident

    In addition to the things that you should not do after a car accident, there are a few actions you can take that will help your claim.

    Only report facts to the police

    When you’re giving your statement to the police on-site, only state the facts of the accident as you know them. Don’t offer theories about what may have happened or who may be at fault. Minimize your conversation with the police, other drivers and your insurance company until you have had a chance to speak with a Houston car accident lawyer.

    Take pictures

    If possible, snap a few pictures with your phone of your car, the other person’s car and any debris in the road. The more pictures you have, the better.

    Seek emergency medical care (if applicable) and then call a Houston car accident lawyer

    The first thing you should do after a car accident is to seek emergency medical care if you need it. The next is to contact a Houston car accident lawyer to help you navigate the incident’s aftermath and work towards filing a claim.

    Talk to a Houston Car Accident Lawyer about Your Options

    After a car accident, the biggest “do” to consider is calling a Houston car accident lawyer to discuss your options. At Sutliff & Stout, we will talk through all avenues available to you, depending on the specifics of your accident. Moreover, we will determine how to hold those responsible for the accident accountable for the impacts you may have suffered as a result.

    We have helped others deal with the stressful aftermath of a car accident, and we may be able to help you as well. Call us at (713) 987-7111 or reach out online to schedule a free case review today.

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