The average person will experience about 3 to 4 car accidents during their lifetime. These wrecks can range from minor fender benders to violent accidents that leave multiple people injured or killed. Serious injuries after a car accident are unusual, but they can happen to anyone anywhere.
Before we discuss the worst things you can do after a crash, you should know that the best thing you can do after a severe accident is to contact a personal injury lawyer. They can help prevent you from making serious mistakes that could easily ruin your potential case.
If you have questions about a potential car accident case, call (770) 934-8000. Our phone lines are open 24/7.
1. Do not leave the scene — this is a crime!
No matter how scared or upset you are, never leave the scene of a crash if your vehicle was involved. Fleeing the scene of an accident could result in fines, license suspension, misdemeanor or felony charges, and jail time, depending on the state. In Georgia, the law requires motorists to stop their vehicles, render aid, contact emergency services, and cooperate with the investigating officer.
2. Do not apologize — this could count as admitting fault.
The urge to express sympathy after a crash is understandable. But insurance companies often use apologies or phrases of concern against people, even if they weren't the ones at fault for the wreck. Instead of saying “I’m sorry,” ask if anyone is hurt or needs help. Try to remain calm, especially if you are in pain.
3. Do not lose your temper — this could be used against you later.
Emotions after a crash often run high. Adrenaline and endorphins have engaged the body's fight or flight response to the sudden danger. It’s perfectly reasonable to be upset and confused.
What’s not reasonable is to lash out at other drivers, passengers, bystanders, or emergency responders. Losing your temper after an accident could jeopardize any potential injury claim you may have; the insurance company may accuse you of road rage, and a jury is likely to feel less sympathetic toward your case.
4. Do not try to tough out your injuries — seek medical help.
One of the worst things a person can do after a severe wreck is try to endure their symptoms and pain afterward. A person’s health affects their entire life. Medical care is expensive, but ignoring an injury could lead to even more costly medical treatment later.
Delaying medical treatment could also negatively impact an attempt to file a personal injury claim. The insurance company may use the delay to accuse the victim of faking or exaggerating their injuries.
5. Do not pretend you are injured or lie about what happened in the crash — this is considered fraud.
It is never a good idea to lie to the insurance company or an attorney about what happened in an accident. You should also never lie about being injured or exaggerate your pain. Not only does a false claim waste people’s time and energy, but it's considered unethical for a multitude of reasons.
The truth always comes out, especially given how rigorously medical professionals, insurance adjusters, and lawyers investigate accident injury cases.
6. Do not post about your accident on social media — stay quiet until everything is resolved.
Nothing you post to the internet is private. Photos, videos, captions, hashtags, comments, and other social media content can be used as evidence by insurance companies and defense attorneys investigating the accident. They use this tactic to minimize the value of the victim’s pain and suffering or dispute the facts of the accident.
Don’t post anything, and make sure your friends and family members also do not post or share anything about the accident without your knowledge and permission.
7. Do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company or attorney — tell them to speak to your insurance company or attorney instead.
A recorded statement for a car accident claim is used by the insurance company to better understand what happened and how much coverage needs to be applied. However, anything you say is taken as fact and can be used against you later.
The insurance adjuster may try to trap you with vague or specific questions that make you sound uncertain or inconsistent. They may try to get you to downplay the severity of your injuries or provide information you are not legally obligated to disclose at that time (e.g., medical history).
Even if you weren’t found at fault for the accident or feel like you have nothing to hide, you need to be careful.
Read More: How to Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
8. Do not sign up with attorneys who call you out of the blue — calling injury victims is unethical (and, in some cases, illegal).
In Georgia and many other states, it is illegal for attorneys to contact injury victims first. They often receive the victim’s information without their permission from contacts called “runners.” This violation of privacy is unethical.
If you receive a call or message from a law firm soliciting their services when you’ve never had contact with them, do not call them back or reply. If the insurance adjuster finds out that your attorney gained your information through illicit means, it could seriously jeopardize your case.
9. Do not accept the first settlement offer — the amount is usually lower than what you need.
Do not assume the initial offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company is a fair assessment. Claims adjusters are trained to pay as little as possible for injury and damage claims. They will attempt to undervalue your claim, particularly when it comes to subjective losses like pain and suffering. The physical, financial, and emotional losses caused by an accident are often worth far more than most people realize.
The #1 Thing You Should Do After a Serious Wreck
Call Gary Martin Hays! Seriously. There are an amazing number of benefits to hiring an experienced car accident lawyer.
Insurance is complicated. Personal injury is complicated. But if you hire a personal injury attorney, you don’t have to know anything about either to get the accident settlement you deserve.
If a severe auto accident involving a car, motorcycle, or large truck has left you with painful injuries and you don’t know what to do, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates today. A consultation with our expert legal team is free and confidential.
We know what to do, what not to do, what doctors to see, and most importantly, the next steps to take to get you on the road to recovery. We’re ready to answer any questions regarding your rights and our services.