Being in a car accident can really throw you for a loop. Even if you don't get physically injured, you can still feel out of sorts during the immediate aftermath. After all, nobody ever expects this to happen to them. But even if you are feeling a little woozy, it is critically important that you try and keep your wits about you as much as possible while interacting with the other driver following the wreck. Depending on what happened, you could either be eligible to sue for damages or be at risk yourself. Here are three tips to keep in mind to help you protect your legal rights following an auto accident.
Never Admit Fault, Even if You Know You Messed Up
What you do and say in the first minutes following a car accident could come back to haunt you later in court. Even if you know the accident was your fault, never admit this to the other driver. Any kind of apology can also be seen as an admission of guilt. Admitting fault in this situation could either torpedo your chances of suing the other party for your injuries or put you at even greater risk of being sued yourself.
After you exchange information with the other driver, get out your smartphone if you are able to and take photos of the scene, including both vehicles and the direction in which both cars were driving prior to the crash. For best results, you should also contact the police and get an official report filed. Even if the other party admits fault at the scene, he or she could change their tune once the insurance companies get involved, so you'll want to have a complete account of what actually happened.
Contact an Attorney if You Run into Trouble
Even if this incident doesn't end up in a courtroom, you will likely still have to deal with the representative for the other driver's insurance company. This individual might try and get you to admit fault over the phone or just generally phrase things in a way that could set you up for legal trouble. For best results in this scenario, you'll want to contact a traffic lawyer who specializes in cases like these. A good auto accident attorney will be able to speak the insurer on your behalf and protect your legal rights.
The first few minutes after an auto accident can be disorienting, but it's important to keep your head as much as possible. Be sure to document the scene as much as possible and never admit fault to the other driver, even if it really is your fault. If you run into further difficulties with the other driver or their insurance company, contact a traffic lawyer such as Walsh Fewkes Sterba immediately for assistance.