What NOT to Do After An Auto Accident

Published by grandelaw on

Providence Auto Accident Lawyer Louis W. Grande explains the most important things to keep in mind after being involved in an auto accident.

The moments, minutes, and hours after an automobile accident can be stressful and confusing. Often, clients reach out to us immediately after a car crash, wondering what they should do. They’re looking for advice, guidance, and support from an auto accident lawyer Rhode Island residents have trusted for decades.

More important than knowing what steps to take is the knowledge of what steps should be avoided. It is important for our clients to know exactly what they should not do after being engaged in a vehicle incident where they are not at fault. Sometimes knowing what not to do can be even more important for the overall success of a pending lawsuit that stems from an automobile accident. Our legal team is here to assist you through the process, but we will not be able to guide you through the immediate aftermath of an automobile accident. Those precious minutes could make the difference of thousands of dollars in your pocket, and avoiding certain tendencies that most people fall victim to can be the key difference between a successful lawsuit that compensates you fully and a failed lawsuit that leaves the victim with little or nothing.

The Basic Things to Avoid

The most important thing you should refrain from doing is leaving the scene of the car crash. This may sound intuitive, but people do not always want to involve themselves with law enforcement. This leads to the second most important thing which is informing local authorities about the automobile accident as soon as possible. The quicker that the police arrive, the quicker that your concerns will be addressed and you will be able to properly leave the scene of the accident. If you remain present and contact local law enforcement, it will be much easier for us to assist you with your pending lawsuit.

Although the police report does not always make or break a case, it can be an important piece of documentary evidence that acts as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the other side. If you leave the scene of the accident, the at-fault driver will be able to present his or her narrative to the responding officer unchallenged. Moreover, leaving the scene could lead to the other driver making allegations that you fled, opening you up to liability.

Keep Your Emotions Under Control

Another important protocol to follow is to remain calm and collected. Losing your temper towards the at-fault party is not advantageous. They are much less likely to feel remorseful and helpful towards compensating you for the accident. In addition, you should not admit that anything was your fault. There are instances where you are partly to blame, but if the other party bears any responsibility, you can still recover.

We tell our clients that it is important to be thoughtful and careful when discussing the terms of a cause of action for an accident. It might be beneficial to perform some simple breathing exercises to gather your composure before speaking to the at-fault party. Although not all of our clients were able to keep total control over the situation, the most successful lawsuits that we have filed are from individuals who were able to maintain a sense of peacefulness despite the intense flow of emotions caused by the traumatic events of the accident.

How to Handle the Legal Aspect

As a legal office, we are here to help you with your accident claims as best as possible. But we cannot help someone who does not follow simple guidelines. It is critical that you do not try to settle any legal agreements or insurance claims immediately following the accident. The time period instantly after the accident occurs will test your ability to think critically and intelligently. Although you should notify and inform local authorities of the precise details of the accident, trying to speak to the at-fault party’s insurance companies without consulting legal representation is not ideal. As a legal office that has your best interest at hand, we want to assist you through the entire process in order for you to be compensated fairly for your damages.

Contributory Negligence Will Not Bar Your Claims

The doctrine of contributory negligence states that a defendant is completely absolved from liability if the victim’s simultaneous negligence contributed to their damages. Fortunately, Rhode Island is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, meaning that a plaintiff is able to recover even if a jury finds they were contributorily negligent. However, it is crucial that you do not admit that you were at fault at all, as this will hamper our ability to negotiate with the insurance company and can reduce your recovery. You should avoid any admission of responsibility, even if you feel bad for the other driver. It would be unreasonable to expect that our clients are aware of these complex tort principles, and that is why you should avoid trying to litigate the situation without first consulting our legal team.

The Bottom Line

As a legal office, we are here to work with you to enable you to recover the damages that you are entitled to. Our injury lawyers have a track record of helping clients work through their particular situations to formulate a successful cause of action. The best strategy to ensure we have all the tools at our disposal is for you to follow simple guidelines about what you should and should not do after an automobile accident. These strategies may seem relatively intuitive, but following them closely can assist us in helping you receive fair compensation.

Author Bio

Louis W. Grande is a Providence personal injury lawyer who founded his Rhode Island law firm of the same name in 2010. With more than 32 years of experience practicing law, he has successfully represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including car accidents, premise liability, dog bites, medical malpractice, product liability, and other personal injury actions.

Louis received his Juris Doctor from the Hamline University School of Law and is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded Lifetime Achievement in 2017 by America’s Top 100 Attorneys and being named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers in 2017.

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