A car accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for everyone involved. In the aftermath of a crash, it’s important to know what to say and what not to say to protect your legal rights and ensure you are not held liable for the accident.
In this blog, we cover dos and don’ts to keep in mind when talking to other drivers, passengers, and law enforcement officers after a car accident. We also discuss when to call the Columbia auto accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm to file a claim for compensation for your injuries.
Don’t Say You are Fine or Not Hurt
Even if you feel fine after the accident, it is important not to say that you are uninjured. Some injuries, such as a concussion or soft tissue injury, may not be immediately apparent, and symptoms can take days or weeks to develop. It is better to wait and let medical professionals evaluate you before saying you are not hurt.
Do Ask if Everyone is Okay
One of the first things you should do after a car accident is to ensure everyone is okay. Check to see if anyone is injured, call 911, and seek medical attention. It is vital that you visit a licensed physician as soon as possible, even if you do not have any obvious injuries. Medical records are critical pieces of evidence if you file a compensation claim.
Calling 911 right away also means the police can file an accident report which can be helpful when filing an insurance claim or seeking compensation for damages.
Don’t Discuss Your Injuries
After the accident, do not discuss your injuries with anyone other than medical professionals. Even if someone asks how you are feeling, it is best not to say anything about your injuries. Anything you say about your injuries could be used against you later if you file a personal injury claim.
Do Ask for the Other Driver’s License and Insurance Information
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident. Ask for their name, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Also, get the make and model of their car, as well as the license plate number. If possible, also record the names of phone numbers of people that witnessed the accident.
Don’t Say, “Let’s Handle it On Our Own”
It may be tempting to handle the accident without involving the police or insurance companies, but this is not recommended. Even if the damage seems minor, it is important to document the accident with an accident report and to notify your insurance company.
Do Stick to the Facts
When speaking to the police or other drivers, stick to the facts of the accident. Do not speculate about what happened or who was at fault. These statements can be proven untrue during the investigation and detrimental to your case. Simply tell the police what you saw and heard and let them investigate the accident.
Don’t Apologize or Admit Fault
It is important not to apologize or admit fault for the accident. Even if you believe that you may have been at fault, it’s best not say anything that could be used against you later. Let the police and insurance companies determine who was at fault for the accident. Some examples of what NOT to say include:
- “I’m sorry”
- “I didn’t see the stop sign”
- “I turned too early”
- “I wasn’t paying attention to the light”
- “I’m not wearing my glasses or contacts”
- “I was talking on the phone”
Do Say You are Calling a Lawyer
If you were injured in the accident, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help protect your legal rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
A lawyer can help you receive compensation for economic damages such as lost wages, medical bills, and property damage, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state. According to the South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-38-15, if you are found to be less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages. However, the percentage you were at fault will reduce your total compensation.
If you decide to speak with a lawyer, let the other driver and insurance companies know you are seeking legal representation.
Don’t Say Anything on Social Media
Posting updates or pictures about the accident on social media can be tempting to let friends and family know what happened, but this can harm your case. For example, if you post pictures of yourself engaging in physical activities or going on vacation after the accident, the other side may argue that you are not as injured as you claim to be.
Even innocent posts, such as discussing the accident or your injuries, can be taken out of context and used against you in court.
Speak with a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney About Your Case
If you are involved in a car accident, knowing what to say and what not to say to protect your legal rights and avoid being held responsible for damages for which you were not at fault is essential.
If you were injured in a car accident, contacting a lawyer as soon as possible is vital. The experienced attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help guide you through the legal process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.