Posted in Personal Injury on October 25, 2023
Panic, disbelief, and a flurry of emotions engulf you. What do you do next? Who do you call? How do you handle the situation?
In a moment like this, the last thing you need is bad information, yet that’s what many people get. The aftermath of a car accident can be an overwhelming and confusing time. With conflicting advice from friends, family, and the Internet, it’s easy to fall prey to myths that can cost you both time and money.
But don’t despair! Today, we’re here to set the record straight. We’ll separate fact from fiction and debunk some of the most popular myths about what to do when you’ve been involved in an auto wreck.
We’re aiming to give you the information you need to navigate this stressful time with confidence. Let’s get started!
Myth 1: It’s OK to Leave the Scene if It’s a Minor Accident
Absolutely not! Some folks might tell you that if the accident seems minor, no one’s hurt, and both cars are still drivable, then you can just exchange information with the other driver and go on your merry way. This is a huge mistake.
Leaving the scene of even a minor accident can escalate the situation into a hit-and-run accident. In Montana, as well as in most other places, leaving the scene without reporting the accident to the authorities is illegal.
So, what should you do? The answer is simple: Stay put, dial 911, and wait for the police to arrive. They’ll document the accident, which is crucial evidence you may need later, especially if you’re considering filing an auto accident lawsuit.
Myth 2: You Don’t Need a Doctor If You Feel Fine
Alright, so you’ve walked away from the accident and you’re feeling like a superhero. But wait, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
Adrenaline and shock are powerful things. They can mask a car accident injury that may come back to haunt you later.
Also, some injuries like concussions or internal bleeding might not show immediate symptoms. You could feel fine now and terrible tomorrow. That’s why it’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible.
In Montana, you generally have up to 30 days to see a doctor after an auto accident, but why risk it? Go immediately. It’s not just about your health; those medical records can be the linchpin in a future car accident lawsuit if you decide to pursue one.
Myth 3: Any Lawyer Can Handle Your Case
Hold on a second! While it’s tempting to call up your cousin Vinny who just passed the bar, this isn’t the time for amateur hour. Car accidents and the ensuing legal process have their own set of complex rules and regulations.
An employment lawyer or a divorce lawyer is not going to have the specialized knowledge you need. What you want is a car accident lawyer who knows the intricacies of auto accident laws in Montana.
These experts understand what evidence is required, how to negotiate with insurance companies, and what deadlines you need to meet for filing an auto accident lawsuit. They can help you navigate this complicated process and make sure you don’t leave any money on the table.
Myth 4: Insurance Will Cover Everything
If only that were true. Many people believe that once they’ve been in an accident, their insurance or the other driver’s insurance will take care of all the expenses. That’s like thinking a raincoat will keep you completely dry in a hurricane.
Insurance companies are businesses, and they aim to minimize their costs. They might offer you a settlement that seems decent at first glance but may not cover all your medical expenses or car repairs.
This is another situation where having a specialized car accident lawyer can be a game-changer. They can scrutinize your policy, deal with the insurance adjusters, and if needed, help you file an auto accident lawsuit to make sure you get what you’re rightfully owed.
Myth 5: You Don’t Need to Call the Police for a Minor Accident
This one can’t be stressed enough. Whether it’s a fender-bender or a five-car pileup, you need to get the authorities involved.
Some people believe that if no one is visibly injured and both parties agree to just handle it privately, there’s no need to call the police. This is a myth that can get you into hot water later, especially if you end up needing to file a car accident lawsuit.
Without an official police report, you have no unbiased record of what occurred. The report can prove to be invaluable in legal proceedings or for insurance claims.
It’s especially vital if the other driver decides to leave the scene and turns it into a hit-and-run accident. Trust us, you want the police there to document everything.
Myth 6: If You Leave the Scene, You Can’t Be Found
Alright, let’s get this straight: leaving the scene of an accident is not only irresponsible but also illegal. You might think you’re clever enough to escape without getting caught, but modern technology like traffic cameras and license plate recognition makes it more likely than ever that you’ll be tracked down.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you’re setting yourself up for hefty fines, the loss of your license, and even potential jail time. Plus, running from the scene can severely complicate things for everyone involved, including pedestrians or other drivers who witnessed the accident.
It’s always better to stick around, face the music, and deal with the situation responsibly. You’ll also have a better chance of a fair outcome if you stay and cooperate with the authorities and any future legal proceedings.
What to Do After You’ve Been Hit By a Car
OK, the myths are busted. The simple truth is that accidents are complicated, but you don’t have to go it alone. Consult with experts, get checked medically, and make educated decisions if you’ve been hit by a car.
At Heenan & Cook, PLLC, we can help you with all the legal issues associated with a car accident. Contact us here for a free consultation.