15 Things Not to Do After a Raleigh Car Accident

By Kimberly BishopFebruary 19, 2024

On February 15, 2024, the owner of our firm, Kimberly Bishop, was involved in a car accident. Based upon this experience we wanted to write about what not to do after a Raleigh Accident.

The Bishop Law Firm represents car accident injury victims in Raleigh. We offer free case reviews and we do not get paid unless you win your case.

Raleigh Car Accidents - What not to do.

My car accident story starts like so many others. It was daytime and sunny at 4:35 p.m. on Six Forks Road in Raleigh, NC on a Thursday. This was my first car accident and hopefully, my last.

Recently, I wrote Twenty Tips to Avoid Raleigh Car Accidents. In that post, I wrote that not all Raleigh Car Accidents are avoidable. After my recent experience, I reiterate that sentiment but still believe that we should do all we can to protect ourselves on the road.

As I have been writing about car accidents for a while, the below "what not to dos" were followed by me during my accident. I can honestly say that the accident aftermath, while unpleasant, was "managed" by knowing and following the below tips.

  1. Immediately after the accident, your only concern should be safety: your safety, your passenger's safety, and the safety of the other driver. It is understandable that you may not like the other driver very much at that moment because they just caused an accident, but we are all human and make mistakes daily. If you are able to and can safely do so, ask them if they are ok. Don't be abusive and remember that being able to walk away from a car accident is the best possible outcome. See Raleigh Car Accident Injuries.
  2. Realizing that car accidents cause shock and that you may be in shock will help you determine faster if you are injured and what you need to do next. Shock after a car accident is normal. Don't think it won't happen to you or feel bad if it does. After shock, comes anger. Don't let this anger get the best of you. Read about Acute Stress Response.
  3. Call 911 to report the accident and if you or the other party is injured be sure tell the 911 operator immediately so an ambulance can be dispatched. Also, be sure to tell emergency dispatch the make, model and tag number of the vehicle that hit you in case they try to leave the scene. Don't forget that the 911 call is the important first step to recovering your losses from the accident and will be recorded/transcribed.
  4. If you are having pain, please tell the 911 operator. This is crucial to receiving immediate medical care and ignoring this pain can cause you so many problems later. Don't try to be tough if you are in pain. Also read Medical Bills after Car Accident.
  5. The police took three hours to arrive at our accident. I admit that I was tempted just to exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver and leave the scene, but I realized that the time spent waiting for the police officer to make his report that day would save me so much time/aggravation later if the at-fault driver contested liability. Wait for the police. Don't be impatient.
  6. Don't get angry at emergency dispatch or the police department because it's taking so long for the officer to arrive. As we have written before, certain times of the day in Raleigh are more dangerous for car accidents than others, which means that the police department is very busy. See Raleigh Car Accident Statistics.
  7. At one point, emergency dispatch told me that we could leave the scene and come back another day to report the accident. I did not follow this advice, and do not agree with this advice, especially in cases where liability may be disputed or there are injuries.
  8. If you can do so safely, leave your car in the position in which it was hit. Of course, if you are going to stop traffic and can't leave it there safely, you will have to move. Moving your vehicle could cause problems if the accident happened in a complicated way. Don't move your vehicle unless it poses a safety risk or blocks traffic.
  9. Don't spend the time waiting for the police to arrive trying to convince the other party that the accident was their fault. They may be a personal injury lawyer (lol). Fault cannot be established by a conversation with the at-fault driver. Don't give credence to what the at-fault driver says after the accident about fault and surely don't let it upset you.
  10. Take photos, lots of photos of your car and the at-fault party's car (including their tag), the roadway, your injuries, your passengers' injuries. If you don't document the accident to protect yourself, no one else will.
  11. The police will determine who was at fault. Walking up to the police officer with aggression because he/she took so long to get there or generally being a pain in the butt will not help anyone. The police officer will give less credence to your story based on your method of telling it. Don't tell the police officer how to do their job or that they are doing it badly. Nobody likes that.
  12. If the police are incorrect, you can hire an Accident Reconstructionist later to recreate the scene for you. Don't argue with the police officer. See Raleigh Car Accident Reports.
  13. If you can speak, the police officer should ask you how the accident occurred. You should be honest and describe what happened referencing the damages to your vehicle. Don't lie about what happened and try to be as clear as possible when telling your side of events.
  14. Don't go through this alone if you don't have to. Calling a level-headed spouse or friend can help you remain calm and give you moral support. Please don't phone a friend who you know won't be able to help the situation or may make the situation worse.
  15. If the damages to your vehicle look like they may cause further damage if driven, have your car towed. Our police officer took care of calling the tow truck for us and waited for the tow truck to come. Don't drive your car if doing so could damage your car further.

The above tips help you establish liability from the beginning in a car accident that you were not at fault for and get the medical treatment that you need while ensuring you are protecting any claims that you may have later.

Treating a car accident like a financial transaction may seem odd to some, but ensuring your recovery from the moment of impact is imperative to your physical and mental well-being long term.

Also read: Twenty Steps to Take After a Raleigh Car Accident

Do you need a Raleigh Car Accident Lawyer?

The real question is whether I will hire myself in my Raleigh car accident claim? Honestly, if necessary, I will probably get someone on my staff to represent me. "A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client."

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The choice to hire Raleigh Car Accident Lawyers to help with your claim can set the tone for how the insurance company treats you. Without the proper inspiration from an attorney, your claim may gather dust on an adjuster’s desk or get lost in the shuffle.

Also read What does a Raleigh Car Accident Lawyer do?

Our experienced team at The Bishop Law Firm can help if you need a Raleigh Car Accident Lawyer. Our focus is to protect and maximize car accident victims' legal rights to fair compensation, and we don’t get paid unless you win. Can the at-fault driver’s insurance company say the same?

Contact us today for more information or start your free case review right now. 

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