The immediate aftermath of a car accident is a stressful scene. After going through a traumatic circumstance, people are more likely to say things they do not mean or to speak without considering the consequences of what they are saying. The time following a motor vehicle accident in California, though, is critical if there may be a legal claim for damages.
Do not understate your injuries
In many cases, people who are injured in car accidents might not even be aware of their injuries right after the crash. Adrenaline and other factors can make it seem like everything is fine when in actuality serious bodily harm has been done.
The effects of whiplash, for example, may not present themselves until days after the whiplash event. Understating your injuries can establish a record in the wrong way and you could find yourself fighting to prove that you were in fact hurt, even though you said you weren’t after the crash.
Do not admit fault
Avoid apologizing after a car accident. It is a natural reaction after motor vehicle accidents to apologize, even if it is just a general apology that the event occurred. But apologizing is a mistake.
Answer questions from first responders carefully, do not be rude and do not admit fault. A person may feel guilty even if they have done nothing wrong, and any admission could have a negative impact on a personal injury claim.
Gather evidence at the scene
After a car accident, the scene is replete with evidence. Do your best to take photos of the vehicles and of any visible injuries, talk with witnesses and make notes of what they say, get contact information from police and medical responders. All of these things could be helpful if you seek compensation for injuries at a later date. A crash is a time to keep your wits about you.