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What Not to Do After A Car Accident

November 29, 2022 Personal Injury Blog

If you have been in a car crash, the initial shock from the impact may leave you disoriented with irrational thoughts. The actions you take in the moments after the car crash can impact your ability to recover compensation for any damages you suffer. You also run the risk of criminal liability if your actions violate the law. Here are 5 things our San Diego injury lawyers say you should not do after an accident to protect your right to financial compensation for your damages.

San Diego accident lawyer

Leave the Scene of an Accident 

Under California law, a person involved in a car crash must perform certain duties before they leave the scene, otherwise they may face jail time or fines for violation of the law. California Vehicle Code §§ 20002 – 20016 give the details of what is expected of a driver of a vehicle in different situations. Drivers have a duty to provide their names and contact information after a crash whether the other vehicle involved was occupied or not at the time of the crash. They are also required by law to render reasonable assistance to any injured persons, including transporting or making arrangements to transport the injured person to a medical facility for treatment.

Admit Fault at Any Time

California is an at-fault insurance state. This means that the person at-fault for the car crash will be held financially responsible for the damages suffered by the other party in the accident. If you admit fault you may lose your right to make a claim for damages that you suffer in the accident. When giving statements to the police, stick to the facts and keep your answers brief to avoid admitting to anything that may be used against you in your claim. But, do not lie to the police.

Wait to Seek Medical Attention

If you are not rushed to the hospital from the accident scene, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is important to see a doctor after you have been in an accident to determine how your health has been impacted. Not all injuries are visible. If you do not seek medical attention immediately afterwards, the insurance company may accuse you of failing to mitigate your damages, or cast doubt on your injury being a result of the accident. The sooner your injuries are identified after the crash, the better it is for your claim.

Fail to Gather Information at the Scene of the Accident

The information you gather at the scene of the accident is critical in preparing your claim. If you are able to after an accident, you should:

  • Take photos of the scene and the vehicles involved in the crash
  • Collect the name, contact, driver’s license, and insurance details of the other driver involved in the accident
  • Take note of the car make, model, and description
  • The names and contact details of any eye witnesses to the accident

Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance Before Speaking with a Car Accident Attorney

The other party’s insurance claims adjuster may reach out to you to discuss the accident. It is important to remember that they are not on your side. They may seem nice and understanding, but they work for the insurance company, and their job is to limit the amount of money paid out on claims. They are not trying to help you. They are trying to get information that they can use to apportion fault to you and avoid paying for your injury. It is advisable to speak to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. When you are represented by a skilled attorney, insurance companies know that you mean business. Your car accident lawyer will fight to maximize the value of the compensation that you receive.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call the San Diego car accident lawyers at CaseyGerry for a free case evaluation. Call 619-679-9972 today to schedule your appointment.