Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a very frightening experience. In the immediate aftermath of a collision, it’s thoroughly understandable if you’re not in full control of your senses.
However, to the best of your ability, it’s wise to remain calm in these circumstances. In California, if someone else caused your accident, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other such losses by filing a claim or lawsuit. The steps you take right after your accident occurs can play a major role in determining how easy it is (or isn’t) for you to collect what you might deserve.
After checking yourself for injuries, checking your passengers for injuries, and moving to a safe space away from traffic, you should check on the condition of all others involved in the accident. Once you’ve confirmed they’re relatively unharmed and you’ve called the police to report the accident, exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers.
It’s vital that you remain calm when doing so. Yes, you might be naturally angry right now, feeling someone else put your life at risk, but this is not the time for a confrontation.
Limit what you say to the other drivers. Be certain not to say anything like:
You do not want to admit any degree of fault for the accident. Even merely apologizing could suggest that you are at least partially to blame for what happened.
Don’t say anything suggesting you are unharmed. First, even if you genuinely think you’re uninjured, you might not be correct. Adrenaline can prevent a motor vehicle accident victim from noticing the immediate signs of their injuries. Additionally, an injury like a concussion might not manifest until hours or even days after a collision has occurred. This is one of the many reasons it’s imperative that you seek medical attention the day of your accident.
Suggesting that you’re unharmed when speaking to ANYONE at the scene of the accident could also damage a future case. An insurance company could point to these statements (particularly if you made them to police) to argue your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.
Another version of this is “I believe…”
You need to be confident about everything you say in the aftermath of an accident. This is true when speaking with police, other drivers involved in the collision, and witnesses. If someone asks you a question about any details of the accident and you’re not entirely certain of the answer, don’t speculate. Simply say that you don’t know. An attorney can investigate the accident later on your behalf to fill in any missing details.
This brings up an important point. Insurance companies aren’t inclined to pay claimants what they deserve after collisions. To optimize your chances of receiving the full amount of compensation you may deserve, it’s wise to enlist the help of a legal professional.
At Allegiance Law, our San Francisco car accident lawyers are on hand to offer the representation you need right now. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 415-404-6395.