Not many people think about how they should act when they’re in the heat of the moment. This applies to any tense situation, including the aftermath of a crash. What you say or do here could have lasting repercussions on your life and may impact how your crash is handled in court. If you decide to seek compensation for damages you’ve suffered from with the help of a car accident lawyer, this is even more important.
There are a number of so-called rules of etiquette at play when facing this important period of time post-crash. Within these rules are a number of do’s and don’ts that can make all of the difference in how your case is handled in Idaho. If you’ve already contacted the police, you should consider speaking with a car accident lawyer next to discuss your legal options.
What Are the Don’ts?
You can break the don’ts down into two different categories: actions and behaviors. When looking at your own personal actions, the number one thing you should never do after a crash is leave the scene before being cleared to leave. If you do, it can be used against you in court, even if you aren’t determined to be responsible for the crash itself. The other party can also spin your absence in a way to make you appear guilty.
Other actions to avoid include the following:
- Leaving the car where it is if it’s obstructing traffic
- Doing anything to further endanger yourself or others, such as trying to move your vehicle in an unsafe way
- Trying to move injured parties in an unsafe way
- Remaining in the area if there is a possibility of a gas leak or explosion
How you carry yourself – or rather, your behavior – is also important. Naturally, tensions are going to be high at this time. It isn’t uncommon for people to get into arguments or even physical altercations after a crash has occurred if tempers are left unchecked. This is why it’s important to treat everyone involved in a calm and respectful way. This includes your passengers, any other drivers or passengers of their vehicles, well-meaning bystanders, and law enforcement officers.
What Should You Be Doing?
Acting quickly is of crucial importance after a crash, so it’s a good idea to have a general game plan for how you’re going to tackle any possible incidents you may become involved in. First things first, you should know the basics of what to do after a crash. They can be boiled down into these several steps:
- Step one: Remove yourself safely from your vehicle and remove the vehicle from the road if possible. Turn on your hazard lights.
- Step two: Contact the police immediately. Yes, even if you believe that it’s just a small incident.
- Step three: Gather information. You will want the name and address of the other driver, as well as any information relevant to his or her insurance. Just remember not to be antagonistic toward them. You’re both in a bad situation, and the last thing anyone needs is to pour fuel on the fire.
- Step four: Document the incident. You can do so in writing, by recording yourself talking, and through pictures of the crash. All of these pieces of evidence will help the police figure out what happened. In turn, this could help the court decide regarding who receives compensation.
When the police arrive on the scene, they will likely want to collect your statement along with possible evidence. You will want to cooperate with them to streamline this process. Also, as mentioned above, do not leave the scene of the crash early as this could potentially be used against you.
Your Actions Have Lasting Consequences
The things you do directly after a crash can – and, in some cases, will – continue to impact your life for weeks, months, or even years to come. Take a look at leaving the scene of a crash, for example.
When you leave the scene of a crash, you open yourself up for hit-and-run charges. If convicted, you could face jail time, extensive fees, and the possibility of license suspension or revocation. While hit-and-runs are a misdemeanor in Idaho, they can even be considered felonies in some states depending on the surrounding circumstances. Having a felony on your record can damage your chances of getting a job, finding housing, or even getting financing.
A less extreme example is simply waiting too long to pursue damages for the crash. Acting quickly, as stated before, is always important in these situations. There are often time limitations on filing crashes with insurance companies. If you wait too long to file, your chances of getting the money you deserve lower drastically. This is why you should move fast; not doing so could lead to you missing your window of opportunity.
Finally, there’s the way your case is presented to a court. The cause of the accident itself will naturally be the focal point of any case. However, actions taken in the aftermath can still be used against a person. For example, if someone is hit by another driver and then starts an altercation with them afterward that ends in bodily injury, the driver who was hit can still end up facing charges for assault and battery. Being the victim in an accident does not make a person immune to other laws. By having a car accident lawyer on your side, they can help you understand the basic do’s and don’ts of being in an accident.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Right for You?
After seeing how complex these matters can get, it’s no wonder many people feel more comfortable when they have a car accident lawyer fighting on their side. Just a few of the institutions and hurdles you could be dealing with include the following:
- Court appearances
- Law enforcement
- Insurance companies
- Various fees
You already have the stress of the accident itself weighing on your shoulders, and additional stress isn’t going to do your body any good, especially while it’s in the recovery period. Having a car accident lawyer can help lift some of that weight. It’s the attorney’s job to deal with tough negotiations, complex legal matters, and deciding what moves you need to make to get the compensation you deserve for your suffering. With those matters in the hands of a professional, you’re free to focus on getting back to your old life.
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