As a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer for over 25 years, I’ve seen it all, including the mistakes people make when they are in a car accident. Particularly mistakes at the scene. I have come up with the five most common mistakes made at the scene of an accident.
1) PICTURES - If you can get out of the car, get a picture of your car and the other car. You would be surprised how many times nobody takes pictures or the pictures disappear. If you can’t get out of the car or are in too much pain., ask someone at the scene to take photos before the cars are moved. Give the person your cell number to text them to you or hand them your phone. Photos don’t lie, but people do.
2) NO APOLOGIES - Please, do not apologize. This is especially important for people who apologize even when it’s not their fault – just to be nice or make to the other person feel better. Don’t say anything about how the accident happened unless it is to the police taking a report.
3) COLLECT WITNESS INFO - Always collect the names and cell numbers from witnesses whom you don’t know but who clearly saw the accident. The police often forget or are too busy, especially if it doesn’t’ look super serious to them. People disappear. I can't tell you how many times I've ended up needing a witness, whom everyone said was there, but nobody got his name.
4) ACCEPT AN AMBULANCE - Do not refuse transportation by ambulance. I don’t care if you have health insurance. I don’t care what your deductible is. Allow yourself to be taken by squad to the ER whether you think you can drive yourself for not. Of course this only applies to situations wherein you have been physically impacted by the crash.
5) DON'T CONCLUDE IF YOU'RE INJURED OR NOT - This is related to number four and number two...never tell anyone you are “ok”, “good,” “not hurt”, or anything similar. Do not say it to the police, do not say it to EMS, and do not say it to the other driver. You won’t know if you are hurt because your adrenaline is pumping. Pain may be masked. Many severe whiplash victims say that they didn’t realize they were hurt until they woke up the next morning and could not move. They describe it as being run over by a mack truck. If you must answer the question “are you okay,” possible responses are “I’m in shock,” “no,” "I can't tell, my adrenaline is pumping," or “I may be hurt.”
Seek the help of the leading Ohio personal injury attorney Jami S. Oliver for your legal options. Call 614-220-9100 to schedule an appointment.