The outcome of a car accident case can sway in your favor or against you depending on how you conduct yourself, regardless of whether the other driver is at fault. Sometimes, accident victims do or say things that negatively affect their case, such as posting on social media or apologizing to the other driver.
In the aftermath of a car accident, discuss your accident with an attorney. They can review your legal options and advise you on what to do after the accident. Here are five things you should never do after a crash:
Any time you are involved in a car crash, it is important to remain at the scene until the police arrive. Leaving the scene makes it more difficult to exchange information and determine if the other driver was at fault. If you leave the scene of a crash, you could be charged with a traffic infraction and a fine of up to $250 and 15 days in jail.
When you remain at the accident scene, you ensure that everyone involved can safely exchange information and file a police report. If your accident resulted in injuries, death, or property damage over $1,000, you must file an accident report within 10 days of the incident.
When a police officer takes your statement after the crash, the police report reflects your statements and can determine how the insurance companies proceed with your claim. If you apologize for the accident and admit fault, the police may consider your apology as an admission of liability.
Since New York is a contributory negligence state, your percentage of fault might reduce the amount of compensation you may receive for your injuries and property damage. If your case goes to court, the other driver’s lawyer can use your admission of fault as evidence of liability against you.
In the aftermath of a car crash, it is crucial to remain calm and collected. If you speak to the police, you should only mention the facts of the accident and what you did before and after it. Provide only the information the officer requests for the investigation.
Do not try to speculate about what caused the accident. You may not know all the contributing factors. Even if you believe you contributed to the accident, other factors could put some fault on the other driver.
It is always best to let the authorities investigate the accident scene. In addition, an attorney can review the accident’s photos, videos, and witnesses’ testimony to determine liability. For instance, according to surveillance footage, the other driver may have been drunk, which is not always easy to recognize from your vehicle.
Posting about your car crash case on social media can be used against you by the insurance company or the other driver’s lawyers. If you post on social media that you went to a party while claiming compensation for your injuries, this can be used as evidence that your injuries are not as serious as you claim them to be.
Insurance companies and the other driver’s legal team can look at social media to investigate accident victims. They can look for anything you have posted and use it to disprove your claims. This includes posts about the accident, your injuries, or your recovery.
Posting about your case on social media can jeopardize any settlement you might receive. If the insurance company believes you have incriminated yourself or downplayed your injuries, they may offer you less money than you deserve.
An insurance adjuster may contact you to sign a release for a monetary settlement. However, it is important to understand that this release may waive your right to future compensation, regardless of the extent of your injuries. Never sign anything after a car crash without first consulting with a lawyer.
An experienced attorney can help you understand the implications of any documents you are asked to sign. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Talking to a lawyer after a car crash is always in your best interest to protect your right to compensation. The Syracuse personal injury lawyers at Catalano Law can ensure you avoid making costly mistakes after a car accident. Contact our law office to share the details of your case in a free, no-obligation consultation.