Be Careful: What You Do After a Car Accident Could Harm You More Than the Collision
If you are involved in a car accident in Oklahoma, there are certain common missteps and omissions that you will want to avoid. Otherwise, they may come back to haunt you later. Well intended statements that you make to the other driver or an insurance adjustor could be used against you.
- Seek a prompt medical evaluation after a collision even if you do not require immediate emergency medical treatment. Inform the doctor that you were in a car accident. Some injuries such as concussions may not obvious to the person who has been injured, but need to be monitored. A doctor’s report of your injuries will provide crucial support for any insurance claim or accident claim that you make.
- Don’t try to reassure the other driver that they didn’t hurt you and that you are unharmed. Sometimes injuries aren’t immediately apparent. You may not feel any pain after a collision because of the surge of adrenaline. But a day or two later, you may feel a lot of pain or stiffness or feel be quite sore. Your initial assurance that you were not hurt, however well intended, may be used against you to try to deny or minimize your injury claim.
- Exchange insurance and license information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident, but don’t get into a discussion about how the accident happened or admit fault. Again, any comments you make may be used against you later. Even if you think that you caused the accident, you may be unaware of all the factors that contributed to the accident. Wait for the police to arrive and explain to the officer what occurred.
- Do not let another driver talk you out of calling the police or sheriff’s department to the scene of the accident. An accident report by law enforcement is an important piece of evidence that insurance adjustors rely upon to determine fault and settle a claim. It’s important to summon police and wait for them to arrive.
- If you have a mobile phone with a camera and you can do so safely, take photos of the accident scene showing damage to the vehicles and any skid marks on the pavement, before the vehicles are moved. The photos may be useful evidence.
- Do not forget to let your insurance company know about the accident. Inform your insurance agent or have someone do it for you if you are unable within 24 hours that you have been involved in a collision. Provide the information you obtained from the other driver.
- Decline politely to discuss details of the accident with the insurance adjustor representing the other driver and hang up the phone. The adjustor may act polite and seemed concerned about your health, but frankly they do not have your best interest in mind. They are working to minimize any compensation that their insurance company of the at-fault driver has to pay out. They may twist any statement that you give them to minimize or deny an accident claim.
- Don’t accept a quick settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company without having a knowledgeable car accident attorney review the specifics of the accident. You should not have to pay anything for the initial consultation. An experienced accident attorney will have a better perspective on whether the settlement offer is reasonable or a low ball offer intended to get liability off the insurance company’s books.
If you have been injured in a collision caused by another motorist, talk to an Oklahoma car accident lawyer at Burch, George & Germany, P.C. about your legal rights.
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