Car accidents are terrible experiences and can happen to anyone. However, doing the wrong thing after an accident can make a bad situation even worse. Making the wrong decision after an accident can be the difference between getting the compensation you deserve and having to pay for the damage caused by someone else. We previously wrote about “What to Do After a Car Accident in Las Vegas”, but now we write about the “10 Things to Not Do After a Car Accident”! By avoiding the 10 Things to Not Do After a Car Accident laid out below, you can turn a bad situation into the best outcome possible.
1. Leave the scene
By leaving the scene of an accident, you turn the scene of an accident into the scene of a crime. Under Nevada law, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, regardless of whether you were at fault or not in the accident. NRS 484E.020 states that any driver involved in a crash resulting in damage “shall [i]mmediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash . . . .”
If you are involved in an accident, stop your vehicle. If possible, pull your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid further collisions. You are required to move your vehicle off the road under the same law that requires you to stop after a crash.
2. Not call 911
Some people assume that 911 only needs to be called if someone has been hurt in the accident. That is not true. You should always call 911 after being involved in an accident.
Importantly, the police can help establish who was at fault in the accident. Police will often investigate the crash after it occurs, observe road conditions, speak to witnesses, and then provide a report which details how the accident occurred and who was at fault. The report can be a crucial component to any case that may result from the crash.
Police can also help ensure that the proper information is exchanged between drivers. Police can help aid in moving vehicles safely off the road that have become disabled in a crash. Finally, police can help direct traffic after the collision, thereby helping to prevent another accident from occurring.
3. Forget to exchange information
After an accident it is common to feel disoriented and forget what to do. However, you must remember to exchange insurance information, including the name of the insurance company and policy numbers. Accidents are handled through insurance companies. Most people do not have the money to compensate you for the damage done in an accident. However, if you are in an accident with someone who is obeying the law, they will have insurance.
Insurance information is the most important information to exchange, but you are also required to exchange your name, address and registration number for your vehicle under Nevada law. If requested, you must also show your driver’s license.
4. Underestimate your injuries
It is possible to feel minimal pain after an accident. However, as time passes, and the adrenaline wears off, what were mistakenly thought to be minor injuries, can turn into serious injuries. Because that is true, it is important to seek medical attention after an accident even if you only feel that your injuries are minor. Your doctor can prescribe you medications for your pain, which can help ease the amount of pain you will feel in the days following the accident, when the pain is often at its worse. Also, your doctor can help document your injuries, which will be important for your case. Common car accident injuries include sprains/strains, broken bones, spine injuries, and brain injuries.
5. Admit fault
Anything you say after an accident can be used against you. Also, lawyers may take what you say, no matter what you mean by it, and try to use it against you to prove that you caused the accident. For example, you may feel bad that the person that hit you was hurt in the accident. So, you may say “I am sorry”. However, while you may have said you are sorry because you feel bad they are hurt, that may be interpreted as an admission of guilt. It is best to let your lawyer do the talking.
6. Fail to gather evidence
If possible, gather as much information as you can about how the accident happened. If you have a camera or phone, take pictures of your vehicle and the other vehicle involved in the crash. If witnesses have stopped after the collision, take down their names and contact information. Write down the date and time the accident occurred, as well as the conditions, including the weather and amount of traffic. Obtaining as much information as possible can be crucial to your future case.
7. Speak to the other party’s insurance company
Insurance companies will often reach out to individuals as soon as possible following an accident because they know that people are often vulnerable at that time. For instance, if a person does not hire a lawyer right away, an insurance company can speak with the person directly. Without a lawyer advising you on how to proceed, an insurance company will try to get you to settle your claim with them for as little as possible. This is a bad idea. After an accident happens, you don’t know how much your claim is worth. Injuries often take days to fully manifest themselves and there is no telling how much treatment will be required to recover.
Also, even if an insurance company does not contact you to settle your case for less than what you deserve, they may be speaking to you to get information that can be used against you during the settlement process or in a lawsuit. You have no obligation to speak with the insurance company of the individual who you were involved in an accident with. Don’t do it.
8. Neglect to speak to your own insurance company
Unlike the insurance company for the other party, you are obligated to communicate with your own insurance company following an accident. You must contact your insurance company as soon as possible following a collision and file a claim with them. If you fail to file a claim with your insurance company in a timely manner, that may be grounds for your insurance company to deny coverage.
Also, your insurance company may ask you to provide a recorded statement. You are also obligated to provide this statement if your insurance company asks you to do so. Under your insurance policy, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company in their investigation of any accident you are involved in. Communication is key to that cooperation. However, it’s always best to have experienced lawyers like Valiente Mott Injury Attorneys to help you navigate the many pit falls of recorded statements.
9. Not hire an attorney
Some people try to handle their case on their own following an accident. This is a huge mistake. An attorney can help make every aspect of the aftermath of a collision easier to handle. As soon as you hire an attorney, the insurance company for the other driver involved in the accident cannot speak to you directly. Instead, they must contact your attorney. The same is even true for your own insurance company. While you must always cooperate with your insurance company, your insurance company must work through your attorney.
And, the sooner you hire an attorney, the better. A lot of times people will try to go at it on their own after an accident, but then discover they are in over their heads. By that time, a person may have made mistakes that can be hard for the best attorney to overcome.
10. Be dishonest with your attorney
It is crucial to share as much information as possible with your attorney following a collision. No matter the information, it is so important that you are completely honest with your attorney and you tell them about every aspect of the accident, the good, the bad, and the ugly. By telling your attorney the good facts and the bad facts surrounding your accident, your attorney can better serve you as your case progresses.
Finally, it is crucial that you ask your attorney questions. You were involved in an accident, your car was damaged, and you were hurt. The case is about you. You have the right to know and understand the process surrounding your case. Ask questions. A good lawyer will always take time to answer your questions and give you confidence in the road they are directing you down.
The attorneys at Valiente Mott Injury Attorneys know how to navigate the 10 things to not do after a car accident in Nevada. If you’ve been involved in an accident, call the experienced Nevada car accident attorneys at Valiente Mott Injury Attorneys for a free consultation today at 702-623-2323.
Valiente Mott is a law firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We handle all personal injury matters, including, but not limited to, car crashes, defective products, and catastrophic injury. We are compassionate, yet aggressive when protecting personal injury victims and families who lost loved ones in fatal accidents. Learn more about who we are.
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