After a car accident, most people know they should call the police, turn their hazard lights on, and exchange contact information with the other driver. But there are actually some things you should not do, including:
Refuse Medical Attention
Minimal damage to your vehicle does not necessarily mean minimal damage to your body. Even if the accident was minor and you don’t think you were injured, some injuries may not show up until later, so you should always seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident. If you put off seeking medical attention or don’t follow the advice of your doctors, an insurance company may discount the extent of your injuries and reduce the damages they are willing to pay accordingly.
Leave the Scene Without Calling the Police
Leaving the scene of an accident, also known as hit-and-run, is against the law in Colorado, classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the severity of the accident. Any driver involved in an accident that results in property damage, injury or death is required to:
- Stop immediately
- Remain at the accident scene, give your name, address and vehicle registration number, and be ready to show your driver’s license
- Render aid where it is needed
In Colorado, a hit-and-run that involves injury to another person is a Class 1 misdemeanor; a hit-and-run that results in serious injury to another person is a Class 4 felony, and a hit-and-run that results in death is a Class 3 felony. Leaving the scene of an accident also warrants the revocation of the offender’s driver’s license.
Take Responsibility for the Crash
Even if you feel strongly that you were responsible for the accident, don’t apologize and admit fault — in fact, avoid discussing fault at all. Accident scenes are usually very chaotic, and liability for the accident may not be evident. So before you blurt out something you may regret later, remember that anything you say at the scene could be used against you later in a civil or criminal lawsuit.
Accept Settlement Offers From an Insurance Company
If you are offered a settlement from an insurance company, proceed with caution. You should not even think about accepting such an offer until all your physical injuries have been treated and you’ve received a doctor’s prognosis. Some injuries may not manifest themselves until weeks or even months after the accident, so don’t be tempted to settle a claim until you’re sure you’ll be compensated for all your injuries. To increase your chances of being fairly compensated for your injuries, you should consider consulting with an accident attorney before signing any documents pertaining to settlement.
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