The Actions You Take After an Auto Accident Are Important. Don’t Risk Your Chance for Compensation by Making These 4 Mistakes
Hundreds of car and truck accidents happen every day in North Carolina and South Carolina. While the aftermath of an auto accident can be confusing and scary, the steps you take can have a significant impact on your insurance claim. To help protect you and ensure you receive fair compensation, here are four things you should never do after an auto accident.
1. DO NOT forget to document the scene and get contact information.
If you are able, one of the first things you should do after an auto accident is document the scene and get contact information. Be sure to take photos of your vehicle, the other vehicles involved, and the entire accident scene, including intersections, roadways, and any other relevant elements, such as street lights, traffic signs, or obstructions.
Then, collect the following information from the other driver(s).
- Cell phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate numbers
- The name of their auto insurance company and policy number(s)
If there are witnesses, get their name and contact information too.
2. NEVER leave the accident scene without a police report.
Even if the auto accident is minor, such as a fender bender, you should always contact the police. When a police officer responds to the scene of a crash, he or she will fill out an accident report.
An accident report documents an unbiased, third-party account of what happened in the accident. This report can be used as evidence to help establish who is at fault. Insurance companies will ask to see a copy of the accident report to help them determine what amount of compensation you deserve.
Find out how to obtain a copy of a police report in North Carolina and South Carolina here.
3. NEVER apologize or express guilt without knowing all the facts.
After an auto accident, it is human nature for people to express guilt and apologize for any harm or damage caused. However, DO NOT do this! This can come back to bite you.
Any declaration of fault after an auto accident is a signal to the other party that you are fully or partially to blame. The other driver’s insurance company (or even your insurance company) can use your initial statements to minimize how much they owe you. After all, why would you apologize if the accident was not your fault?
Yet, you can still be concerned and sympathetic without admitting guilt. Do not get angry or combative with the other parties. Losing your cool at the accident scene can cause more harm to your case.
4. NEVER talk to the other party’s insurance company without consulting an attorney.
You are NOT legally required to speak with the other driver’s insurance company or their attorney. However, a claims adjuster will likely call you soon after the accident. He or she may act casual and friendly; they may even suggest that talking to them will lead to a faster settlement. DO NOT engage and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT accept a settlement offer.
Insurance companies try to avoid paying compensation to anyone in order to protect their bottom line. The other party’s representative may try to trap you into admitting fault or incriminating yourself in some way.
To ensure your best interests are protected, contact an experienced accident attorney right away. An attorney will be able to provide you with legal guidance and can even handle the insurance companies on your behalf.
Worried you won’t be able to afford an accident attorney? At Auger & Auger, we have a Zero Fee Guarantee. We never charge attorney fees unless we are successful in winning your case!
Injured in a North Carolina or South Carolina Auto Accident? Get Trusted Legal Advice From Auger & Auger
At Auger & Auger, our experienced Carolina injury attorneys can provide you with trusted legal advice after an auto accident. For over 20 years, our firm has helped thousands of accident victims and their families throughout North and South Carolina. We understand how stressful an accident can be, and we are committed to helping you.
If you are injured in an auto accident in North Carolina or South Carolina, call Auger & Auger immediately. You can speak directly with one of our accident attorneys to help you understand your legal options.
Call (855) 969-5671 to speak to our accident attorneys.