Maximize Your Recovery: Dos and Don’ts After an Automobile Accident

Each year, more than 1.25 million people pass away in automobile accidents. This results in (on average) 3,287 deaths per day. On top of the fatalities, another 20 to 50 million people are disabled or injured in these incidents.

After being involved in an automobile accident, you may be confused, frustrated, and unsure of what to do next. Unfortunately, this is when mistakes happen.

The good news is, you can get to know some of the dos and don’ts of what you should and should not do after an automobile accident here. When you know what to do, you can avoid the mistakes mentioned before.

Do Call the Police

In most accident situations, the policy should always be called. In fact, there are some states where this is mandated by law.

The police’s job is to document the accident and what happened. They may also be able to record their observations of the scene. These comments and notes are often beneficial if the case goes to court.

Also, the police report may indicate if one of the drivers was also cited for a traffic violation.

Don’t Leave the Scene

It’s important that you never leave the scene of an accident. This is the case even if it is a minor fender bender.

The charges associated with leaving the scene of an accident are much more severe than if you stick around and are honest about what occurred. Even if the other person leaves the scene, you need to stick around to avoid facing additional charges down the road.

Do Protect the Scene

If you are not seriously injured, it’s a good idea to help prevent additional accidents by turning your flashers on or setting up flares. If it is dark out, and your headlights aren’t working then make sure to have a flashlight to help ensure other vehicles can see you until help arrives.

Make sure your vehicle remains in place unless they are interfering with the flow of traffic.

Don’t Put Off Medical Attention

While accident victims may feel fine right away after an accident, there are some injuries that don’t show up right away. It may be beneficial to learn more about these to be prepared.

For example, soft tissue injuries and internal injuries may take a while to show up. It could be weeks before symptoms arise.

As a result, it’s absolutely imperative to get medical attention after an accident. A doctor can determine if there are any issues that need treatment and the record of a doctor’s attention can be beneficial in a lawsuit situation.

Do Get Information from the Other Driver Involved

If possible, the accident victim needs to gather information from the other driver (or drivers) involved in the accident. This includes all of the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Insurance information
  • Make and model of the vehicle
  • License plate number

If the accident involved a business vehicle, be sure to write down the business name and information. The employer may be held fully or partly liable for the accident.

Don’t Forget to Take Pictures

If you have a camera in your vehicle, or your smartphone nearby, you need to take pictures of the vehicles and accident scene. Try to capture all damage or injuries that should occur.

While this is important, make sure you don’t interfere with the police investigation. If you aren’t able to take pictures at the accident scene, you need to take them as soon after the accident as possible.

Do Gather Information from Witnesses

If you are able, try to gather contact information from any witnesses. Anyone who stopped to help may be a potential witness.

Be sure to get this information before the witnesses have the opportunity to leave the scene.

Don’t Throw Evidence Away

After you take your vehicle in for repairs due to the accident, it’s important to make sure that none of the evidence is disposed of. Some of the damaged vehicle parts may be needed to show that the part was actually defective or to prove how the vehicles collided.

Do Keep a File

It’s important to keep all of the documents and information related to the accident in one place, together. This information needs to include the claim number, the claim adjuster handling the claim, information about contacts, and more.

You also need to acquire a copy of the accident reports and medical reports that relate to the accident. Keep these in a handy location for future reference.

Don’t Admit Fault

When you are at the accident scene, it may be tempting to apologize for what happened. It’s best not to do this.

If you apologize – for anything – it can be an admission of fault. Also, don’t tell anyone you believe the accident was your fault. This can also be used against you down the road.

Avoid Mistakes After an Automobile Accident

No one wants to be involved in an automobile accident, but these occur every day in the United States. The best thing you can do to prevent issues is to be informed.

When you know what you should and should not do after an accident, you can avoid problems and have the best chance possible of recovering the compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages you suffered.

If you are interested in car accidents and learning other tips and information you can use to help in these stressful situations, be sure to check out our blog. For example, we offer information on how to avoid bicycle accidents.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.