Insight

7 Things to Never Do After a Car Accident

Petrov Law Firm discusses things to never do after a car accident. Read on to learn more.

Nighttime street with two cars at intersection
DP

Daniel Petrov

August 19, 2022 03:30 PM

Thousands of car accidents occur in California every year. As a California resident, it is highly likely that you will find yourself in the unfortunate position of being involved in a car wreck at some point.

While the moments after a car accident can be confusing, the actions you take can have a significant impact on your claim. By avoiding these seven things you should never do after a car accident, you can protect your right to pursue fair compensation.

1. Leave the Scene Before Reporting the Accident

The California Department of Motor Vehicles explains that a driver is required to report any accident that involves:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • Property damage in excess of $1,000

It is also important for you to report the accident so that authorities can make a record of it. You may need to provide this report to the insurance company. Additionally, if you are injured, you can call 911 to request an ambulance.

The responding law enforcement officer may complete an investigation into the crash, get the other driver’s information, observe road conditions, issue a citation to the at-fault party, and make a preliminary determination of fault.

2. Fail to Obtain the Other Driver’s Information

If you are involved in an accident with another motorist, take time to collect identifying information about them and their vehicle, such as their:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Make, model and year of their car
  • License plate number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Registration number
  • Insurance information

While you’re at it, also get the names and contact information for any witnesses. These witnesses may be able to verify your account of the accident.

3. Underestimate Your Injuries

Many people initially walk away from an accident thinking that they were not injured. However, adrenaline can often mask signs of injury. Within a few hours or days after the accident, an accident victim may begin experiencing symptoms of injury, such as:

  • Soreness or tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Neck or back pain
  • Pain when moving certain areas of the body
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Problems concentrating or remembering

If you were injured in an accident, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. Then, carefully follow your doctor’s orders. If you fail to seek medical attention, your injuries could get worse.

It could also hurt your injury claim. The insurance company may accuse you of failing to mitigate your damages or argue the accident didn’t cause your injuries.

4. Fail to Gather Evidence

Because car accident debris can be dangerous for other motorists, the scene may be cleaned up quickly after a crash occurs. This gives accident victims minimal time to try to document the scene.

However, if possible, accident victims can use their cell phone camera to take pictures of:

  • Damage to both vehicles
  • Road and weather conditions
  • Any nearby traffic signs that may apply to the situation
  • Physical damage to nearby property, tire treads, or skid marks
  • Witness contact information
  • Wide angles of the accident scene

Obtaining as much information about the accident as soon as possible can be crucial evidence to the resolution of your case.

5. Apologize

Trying to be polite, many people will apologize after an accident. However, the insurance company may try to twist your words and allege that you were admitting fault for the accident by simply saying, “I’m sorry.” For this reason, keep statements to the police brief and only talk to the other motorist to check on their health and to get their information.

6. Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company

A common trick insurance companies play is to tell an accident victim that they need a recorded statement to resolve the claim. However, they are only trying to get information to use against you. It is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer and refer the insurance company to them instead.

7. Not Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. You do not need to try to deal with recuperating from your injuries and an insurance claim at the same time. You also want to make sure you’re getting as much compensation as possible for your injury claim.

That’s why it's always best to hire a car accident attorney after a crash in California. They can help you maximize the value of your damages and protect your rights throughout your case.

Daniel Petrov is the founder of Petrov Law Firm, a personal injury law firm based in Vista, CA. With over 20 years of collective experience and more than $40 million dollars recovered on behalf of their clients. Contact them for a free consultation today.

Headline Image: iStock/ monkeybusinessimages

Related Articles

IN PARTNERSHIP

How Long Does a Felony Stay On Your Record in California


by Peter Blair

A felony can remain on your record for life in California. Some felonies qualify for expungement. Learn how to remove a felony conviction from your record in California.

Hand setting bird free out of a guarded fence

IN PARTNERSHIP

What Should I Consider When Hiring a Car Accident Attorney


by Brian White

The lawyer you hire for your injury case can make a difference in the outcome. Learn 5 things to consider when you choose a car accident lawyer.

Man in peach shirt shaking hands with someone

What Will a Car Accident Lawyer Actually Do for You?


by David Muñoz

Find out what you can expect after hiring a personal injury attorney. Learn about your legal rights to help you decide if you should hire an attorney after suffering injuries in a car accident.

What to Expect from A Personal Injury Lawyer

The 2023 Best Lawyers in Portugal™


by Best Lawyers

Announcing the elite group of lawyers recognized in Portugal for 2023.

Green and red Portuguese flag

Easton & Easton Knocks It Out of the Park


by Justin Smulison

With exceptional results and new strategic partnerships, 2023 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" Tier 1* ranked powerhouse firm Easton & Easton is launching homeruns and scoring goals for personal injury victims.

Four men wearing jerseys and holding sports gear

Enhancing Consumer Safety Through Winning Jury Trials and Substantial Settlements


by Justin Smulison

Firm founder and lead trial lawyer James P. Frantz discusses how landmark victories in litigation and trial protect consumers.

Lawyers sitting around a table in conference room

California’s Plan to Phase Out Gas-Powered Cars by 2035


by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers weighs in on California, the largest automotive market in the U.S., and their current plan to phase out gas-powered transportation altogether.

Car fuel gauge reading empty

"Lawyer of the Year"


Woman standing in front of dark background

Julie Dunne

Litigation - Labor and Employment

San Diego, CA

2023

2023's Best Lawyers in Colombia™


by Best Lawyers

Announcing Colombia's elite group of lawyers recognized for 2023.

Yellow, blue and red stripes

Fighting for Florida


by Justin Smulison

Three-time “Lawyer Of The Year”* Steve Yerrid reflects on how South Florida was the setting for some of his most memorable trials.

Headshot of man with dark suit and red tie outside in front of fountain

IN PARTNERSHIP

Rewriting 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 One Verdict at a Time


by Justin Smulison

Athea Trial Lawyers was formed only a year ago by several prestigious lawyers seeking justice for their clients, and together they are making history.

Six female lawyers sitting in office

At What Cost?


by Mark LeHocky

Litigants need to be completely honest with themselves about the costs and benefits of what they’re about to embark upon. A litigator turned general counsel turned mediator borrows from behavioral science to explain why.

Clockface with Ben Franklin in the backdrop

One Crucial Clause for Every Agreement


by Joshua Stein

No matter what legal agreement you’re signing, it probably ought to include a critical chunk of exculpatory text to prevent unexpected liability. Many documents lack it.

Two hands point to text on document

(Cyber) Squatting Not Allowed!


by Lisa Holubar, Peter Danos* and Ted Mahan

“Cybersquatting” has been a problem essentially since the internet’s earliest days. The law has caught up, giving aggrieved rights holders better control over their intellectual property.

Protective shield blocks internet search bar

Funds and Fiduciaries


by Scott Burnett Smith

Early in 2022, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in a key case dealing with pension funds’ obligations to their participants. The decision established two guardrails that govern how fund managers do their job.

Three figures stand on increasingly taller blocks

Peril Rising


by Andrew J. Lautenbach

As sea levels go up, so does the urgency of figuring out what to do about it, especially for vulnerable shoreline locales. Hawaii’s experience shows the way forward—and how difficult it will be to get there.

Ocean waves with buildings on shoreline

Trending Articles

The Best Lawyers in Spain™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Announcing Spain's recognized lawyers for 2023.

Flag of Spain

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

The Best Lawyers in Chile™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms in Chile.

White star in blue box beside white box with red box on bottom

Thirteen Years of Excellence


by Best Lawyers

For the 13th consecutive year, “Best Law Firms” has awarded the most elite and talented law firms across the country through a thorough and trusted data review process.

Red, white and blue pipes and writing on black background

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

The 2023 Best Lawyers in Portugal™


by Best Lawyers

Announcing the elite group of lawyers recognized in Portugal for 2023.

Green and red Portuguese flag

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Peru™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Honoring our awarded lawyers for 2023 in Peru.

Red and white stripes with green leaf symbol

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in Spain™ 2022


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

The Best Lawyers in Spain™ 2022

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

IN PARTNERSHIP

Rewriting 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 One Verdict at a Time


by Justin Smulison

Athea Trial Lawyers was formed only a year ago by several prestigious lawyers seeking justice for their clients, and together they are making history.

Six female lawyers sitting in office

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Strength in Numbers: When Partnering Up May Be Best in Whistleblower Litigation


by Justin Smulison

Whistleblower claims make headlines when they result in multimillion-dollar settlements. But the journey to the courtroom is characterized by complexity and requires time and resources. Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams partner and The Best Lawyers in America awardee Michael R. Williams discusses when and why partnerships between counsel will strengthen whistleblower litigation.

A Blue Person in the Middle of White People

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Announcing the 2022 "Best Law Firms" Rankings


by Best Lawyers

The 2022 “Best Law Firms” publication includes all “Law Firm of the Year” recipients, national and metro Tier 1 ranked firms and editorial from thought leaders in the legal industry.

The 2022 Best Law Firms Awards