In this article, we’ll talk about important things to avoid if you’ve been hurt in an accident—to keep yourself well, both physically and mentally, and to make sure you don’t accidentally harm your chances to seek compensation.
Don’t Disrespect or Disobey Police Officers or Emergency Personnel
Police and EMTs are there to help in case you need first aid and to keep you safe from other upset drivers. They also work to prevent tense situations from getting worse. Being respectful to authorities increases the chances of a quick and smooth resolution at the accident scene. Remember, a police report is crucial documentation, so it’s important to act in a way that reflects well on you. Stay calm, stick with your vehicle and passengers, follow instructions, and avoid getting confrontational. Sorting out the details can happen later; arguing or blaming others with law enforcement may not work in your favor. It’s important that you show respect and follow instructions from the police or emergency personnel.
Don’t Hesitate to Use an Ambulance if You Need It
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are trained to provide immediate help to people who are seriously injured. Trust them to do their job! If you’re worried about the cost of taking an ambulance to the hospital after an accident, prioritize your well-being over financial concerns. Ambulance operators are obligated by law to offer emergency services without considering your ability to pay. This ensures they respond quickly to life-threatening situations. If you’re injured due to someone else’s fault, remember you can seek reimbursement for ambulance costs when filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible person, company, or organization.
Be Truthful, But Avoid Telling Witnesses, Police Officers, or Anyone Else That You Feel “Fine.”
From a young age, we’re often wired to respond with a casual “I’m fine” when asked how we’re doing. It’s like a reflex to reassure others that everything is okay, even when it might not be. After an accident, chances are you won’t be feeling “fine” at all. The tricky part is, if you tell witnesses, police, or first responders that you’re not in pain, you could complicate your chances of seeking compensation for real injuries. Worse, you might miss out on getting the medical care you truly need. So, it’s crucial to be honest. If you’re in pain, disoriented, or just shaken up, let people know. Sometimes, shock can set in hours after a crash, and that can lead to serious issues. Don’t risk your health or the well-being of someone you care about. Always be truthful about how you’re really feeling, and don’t try to downplay any genuine pain.
Don’t Think You Shouldn’t See a Doctor Right Away
Getting into a car accident, no matter how minor it may seem, can be tough on both your body and your mind. Even a small fender-bender can put a lot of stress on your nerves, muscles, bones, and joints. For instance, the Omni Car Crash Calculator found that a 25-mph impact can exert nearly 5,000 lbs. of force on a 150-lb. driver – and that’s with a seatbelt on! Without a seatbelt, it can go up to over 23,000 lbs. of pressure. While you might not feel the effects immediately, symptoms of internal injuries can show up in the days, weeks, or months after the accident.
Right after a traumatic event, your body releases hormones called endorphins that can temporarily numb pain caused by injuries. Doctors know how to look beyond this initial response to understand the true extent of injuries, including broken bones, torn ligaments, spinal cord trauma, and other damages that can happen after accidents. Timely treatment is crucial, especially if you have internal bleeding or damage to your spinal column – it could make a big difference between temporary pain and permanent damage, or even life and death.
But there are more reasons why you shouldn’t delay seeking healthcare after an injury. Medical records become vital evidence when filing for health coverage, worker’s compensation, or other insurance claims. Waiting too long can jeopardize the accuracy and timeliness of your medical records, which may affect your claims in the future and could lead to denials.
Since New York follows a No-Fault system, your auto insurance’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage should cover the initial medical expenses after an accident. Don’t let concerns about unexpected healthcare costs stop you from seeking care – your well-being is invaluable.
Lastly, the medical records from your accident can be crucial evidence if you ever need to file a personal injury lawsuit for your injuries. Delaying emergency medical care after an accident not only puts you and your passengers at significant physical risk but also financial risk.
Don’t Wait – Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
In an accident, your phone can be really helpful. First, call 911 for help. After that, if possible, use your phone to take pictures and gather information. Snap detailed photos of your car and others involved in the accident. Capture skid marks and the license plate of the other vehicle. Get contact info from witnesses and save it on your phone by taking pictures of their IDs. Also, photograph anything around that might have contributed to the accident, like stop signs, traffic signals, or road conditions (snow, ice, potholes, etc.). If witnesses agree, you can even record their statements on video and take photos of any injuries. Remember, pictures can be crucial evidence in a personal injury lawsuit.
Avoid Talking About the Accident on Social Media
Sharing your scary experience with friends and family on social media might seem like a good way to release stress after an accident. However, we strongly advise against posting anything online after an accident. What you share could be used against you by the other party’s attorneys. Even pictures you post later might be misinterpreted by viewers who can’t see the real pain and trauma you’ve been going through. We all want to present our best selves on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, even when we’re not feeling our best. Distorting your actual physical condition can give those responsible for your injuries an opportunity to avoid facing the consequences of their actions. So, to protect your privacy and improve your chances of getting a fair settlement, it’s best to avoid posting on social media.
Don’t Leave the Scene of the Accident
One scary part of being in an accident is the surprise of being in an unexpected situation. You might feel the urge to leave the scene, even if you did nothing wrong. Please don’t do that! It’s against the law, and you could be charged with a hit-and-run. Leaving might also make it seem like you’re accepting responsibility, even if the collision wasn’t your fault. Stay where you are and help anyone who needs first aid or assistance. It’s the right thing to do, and it also protects you legally.
Don’t Drive Your Damaged Car
If a police officer instructs you to move your wrecked car to the shoulder or another nearby road because of traffic disruptions, it’s okay to follow their guidance. However, we strongly recommend against moving a damaged vehicle on your own, as it can make the damage worse or even lead to fires that endanger your life. Wait for a tow truck and let trained professionals assess the situation. While it might feel uncomfortable causing a delay for other drivers, remember that they would likely understand, considering the recent trauma you’ve gone through is more significant than a short delay in their commute.
Call Mesadieu Law Firm at 844.374.4482 or fill out our case evaluation form today to have our experienced, specialized lawyers help with your car accident now. We’ll Stand Right You. We’ll Do Right By You.