When you’re involved in a car accident, whether it’s your fault or not, the immediate shock and stress can make it difficult to know what actions you should be taking. However, it’s the immediate actions that you either do or don’t take that can have a big impact on how this issue gets resolved between the two parties involved in the accident, law enforcement, insurance carriers, medical providers and more. So to ensure you’re protecting yourself legally, here are three legal steps you should take following a car accident.
Don’t Admit Guilt
One of the worst things you can do, but something that comes out almost immediately and without thought, can be admitting guilt for the accident by apologizing to the other driver. Although you may feel that saying you’re sorry isn’t really an admission of guilt to the accident being your fault, David Goguen, a contributor to AllLaw.com, shares that even this small and seemingly insignificant admission of guilt can put you in potential hot water with your insurance carrier. Whoever is at fault will generally have to pay for the accident, which is something you likely want to avoid. With this in mind, make sure you watch what you say right after you get in an accident.
Call The Authorities
Even if you don’t think the accident you were in should require police presence, YourLegalFriend.com recommends always calling the police to come to any accident you have involving another vehicle. With the police at the scene, they can help document what happened and make it easier to tell who was truly at fault for the accident. This will make it much easier if you have to go into a legal fight regarding who has to pay for what or if you need to fight a claim with your own insurance company; a lot of the documentation has already been done for you or can serve as a second witness with police records.
Document All Necessary Medical Attention
Car accidents can be tricky because even if you didn’t think you needed immediate medical attention, the next few days following an accident can present problems that stemmed from the accident. And if the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t be paying for all the medical expenses on your own. For this reason, HG.org suggests thoroughly documenting all medical attention you receive due to the car accident you were in as a way to protect yourself if your medical needs are legally disputed. This means you document every appointment you go to, pain medicine you receive, and medical procedure you require as a result of the accident. Your medical provider will also have records, but it’s a good idea to keep some yourself as well.
If you don’t know what legal action to take following a car accident, use the tips mentioned above to help you navigate this unfamiliar terrain.