What NOT to Do if You’re Injured in a Car Crash

Ask anyone who has been in a car crash what it was like, and most of them will tell you that it was a chaotic and overwhelming experience. It’s easy to see why. Your car may be totaled. You, the other driver, and your respective passengers might be injured or even killed. Soon red ambulance lights will be flashing over the scene and police officers will be asking questions that you don’t know how to answer right away.

It’s difficult to make rational decisions in the aftermath of such an event, but you can avoid jeopardizing a future personal injury claim by avoiding these five mistakes below.

  1. Leaving the scene

In Missouri, it is a criminal offense to leave the scene of a car accident. At the very least it is a Class A misdemeanor, but if anyone is injured, the total property damage exceeds $1000, and/or you have a previous conviction for a similar offense, you could be charged with a Class D felony.

Even if the collision appears to be a classic fender-bender with no apparent injuries, do not leave. Call 911 and wait for the police to come and make a report. If medical assistance is necessary, the police will call for emergency medical personnel.

  1. Failing to document the accident

Unless you are too badly hurt to do so, you should document the accident as thoroughly as possible before leaving. Note the location, date, time, and weather conditions. If your phone was not damaged, use it to take pictures. Get the names and contact details of all parties involved in the accident as well as their insurance information. If there were witnesses to the collision, get their information too.

Your insurer will want all this information before they make an offer. Failing to document the accident as much as possible can also make it challenging to prove what happened if your personal injury case ends up being litigated.

  1. Admitting fault

While you should never be dishonest about the accident details, never admit fault when discussing them at the scene or during subsequent conversations with insurance adjusters. Statements like “I didn’t see them” can be used by insurance companies to deny you compensation or inspire other parties in the accident to file a lawsuit against you.

  1.  Failing to get medical attention immediately

While certain injuries, like broken bones and lacerations, are immediately apparent, others can take hours or even days to manifest. You may think you feel fine as you step out of your car when in reality you have a traumatic brain injury. Don’t try to self-diagnose, as you may be too deep in shock to do so. When an ambulance arrives, go the emergency room to be examined.

  1. Speaking to the other party’s insurance company without an attorney

Insurers will try to get you to accept the lowest possible settlement offer. They will typically request a recorded statement from you and use your own words against you during negotiations or a lawsuit. Don’t talk to them until you have engaged legal counsel.

A Missouri personal injury attorney with experience in handling car accident claims can communicate directly with the insurance company on your behalf, shielding you from the risk of being harmed by insurer “reduction strategies.”

At Ryan R. Cox & Associates, we are here to protect your best interests when you are injured in a Missouri vehicular accident. When you reach out to us immediately after the accident, we will ensure that you do not make incriminating mistakes or fall victim to insurance companies out to pay you as little as possible. Contact us or call 636-946-6886 today for a free and confidential consultation.

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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