If you've been injured in an accident, whether it's from a collision on the road, a fall on a commercial or individual's property, or a bite from an animal, you probably know the first thing you should do is call 911. You probably also know that if you need to recall those events, documenting the date, time, location and witness information is important to do at the scene or as soon as possible. But what you may not know is what not to do if you are involved in an accident.
What Not to Do in a Traffic Accident
In 2015 alone, 2,443,000 people were injured from traffic accidents, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A collision with another vehicle, pedestrian or large truck is a frightening experience. While you try to make sense of what just happened in the moment, do not make these legal and costly mistakes:
- DO NOT admit fault! – Your insurance company will use the police report and conduct an investigation to determine liability in the accident.
- DO NOT leave the scene of the accident. – It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident.
- DO NOT negotiate with the other driver. – What may seem like a minor accident could reveal greater structural property damage or injury down the road. If the other driver wants to offer you cash or other negotiation, this should raise red flags.
What Not to Do in a Slip and Fall Accident
Property owners have a duty to their guests and other invitees to ensure their safety upon the premises. If you've ever slipped or tripped and fell in public, you probably still cringe at the thought of people rushing to you, asking if you are OK. Hardly anyone likes that type of attention. But it's important to understand that you did nothing wrong and if that fall causes injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
Instead of trying to save face and brush yourself off after a slip and fall,
- DO NOT apologize! – If you give an apology, it may be interpreted as having some degree of responsibility for the fall. If you did not intentionally cause yourself to slip or trip, there's no need for you to apologize.
- DO NOT leave the scene without completing an accident report. – We cannot stress enough that without documentation, liability is harder to prove. Take photos of the scene, any injuries and document what happened on an incident report and retain a copy for yourself. Do not leave without this information.
- DO NOT wash or discard what you were wearing when you slipped or tripped. – Fluids or other substances that remain on your clothes and shoes can help support your premises liability case. If you wash your clothes that you were wearing at the time of the accident, you could also be washing away valuable evidence of property negligence.
What Not to Do in an Animal Attack Accident
If you're like one of the six in 10 Americans who own some type of pet, chances are you light up whenever you see a dog, cat or other animal when you're out and about. However, there's good reason to exercise restraint and keep you distance. Both domestic and wild animals have the capacity to bite, scratch or attack, and can leave you with injuries that have very serious consequences.
If you've been injured or attacked by an animal,
- DO NOT delay medical treatment! – Regardless of whether the animal is wild or domestic, do you really want to take the chance of contracting rabies or other diseases/parasites? A medical professional can preventatively treat you for rabies with a simple vaccine and advise you of what to do should you begin to have any other attack-related symptoms.
- DO NOT speak to an insurance company about your accident. – Insurance companies frequently minimize injuries, and low-ball settlement offers. Instead, contact an animal attack lawyer to discuss your accident and your legal rights to proceed forward.
- DO NOT fail to photograph your injuries and get the breed and health records of the animal. – Photographs support your claim. Even if you consider yourself to be a well-rounded dog breed aficionado or gifted horse-whisperer, obtain all health records and any other supporting documents about the animal to treat the injury more accurately and effectively.
When an Accident Causes You or a Loved One Injuries, You Have Legal Rights
Accidents happen. When they do, we understand that the aftermath can be overwhelming. At SKG, our attorneys are here to talk to the insurance companies for you and fight to get you the maximum compensation you rightfully deserve. If you are thinking about hiring a lawyer to represent you, call us for a free, no-risk consultation at (850) 350-FIRM or get in touch with us online. Our phone lines are open 24/7 so you can reach our offices anytime, wherever you are.