The number of fatal car accidents in Albuquerque is increasing year on year. In 2021, there were 207 vehicles and 285 people involved in fatal accidents. Being involved in such a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. While your first instincts may be to make sure everyone is alright, there are certain actions you should avoid taking in the aftermath of an accident for your own legal protection. Drivers should refrain from the following seven things after getting into a car crash in Albuquerque.
Do Not Leave the Scene
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, New Mexico has the highest number of hit and run accidents in the nation. Fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident, even a minor one, is against the law in New Mexico. Under no circumstances should you drive away after colliding with another vehicle, person, or object. Instead, you are legally required to stop immediately and notify emergency services if anyone suffers even minor injuries. Leaving the scene will result not only in criminal charges but can severely hurt any insurance claim you file later.
Avoid Apologizing or Admitting Fault
When emotions are running high after an accident, it can be tempting to start apologizing and taking blame in the heat of the moment. However, legally admitting fault or negligence can easily jeopardize your chances of receiving compensation later on. Therefore, no matter how polite you want to be, refrain from apologizing or saying it was your fault. Liability can be determined after a full investigation.
Do Not Post on Social Media
Resist the urge to vent, run, or post photos of the accident on social media. Insurers routinely search Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for evidence they can use against you. Even subtle details in the background of a photo can give insurers a reason to deny your claim. Wait until after speaking to a car accident lawyer before posting anything related to the incident.
Do Not Sign Anything without Proper Review
Insurance adjusters often pressure drivers into providing recorded statements about the accident immediately or to sign documentation on the spot. However, you should not agree to sign any statements or legal forms before having your attorney thoroughly review them first. If the other party admits fault, this can impact your ability to recover damages later on. Refuse to sign anything until you seek counsel.
Refrain from Speaking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
You are not obligated to discuss the accident with any other parties’ insurance providers. The other driver’s insurer will be looking out for their best interests, not yours. Politely refer them to your attorney if they contact you requesting information or an interview. Failure to obtain legal advice before answering an insurer’s probing questions could weaken your position.
Do Not Delay Medical Treatment
It’s fairly common for adrenaline and shock to mask injuries in the initial aftermath of collisions. However, delaying medical treatment for any pain, discomfort, or symptoms that develop later can negatively impact injury claims. Make sure to get checked out by a doctor promptly, even if you initially refuse ambulance transport from the scene. This properly documents the accident’s effects in your medical records.
Refuse Field Sobriety or Drug Tests
Under no circumstances should you submit to any field sobriety or drug tests at the accident scene requested by officers. Despite having nothing to hide, these can record false positives. Respectfully decline and contact a DUI defense lawyer immediately if charged with any substance-related offenses after the crash. Complying with such tests rarely helps your case.
Being in a car accident can be scary and emotionally taxing. While you may want to do the “right” things like apologize or cooperate with insurers and authorities, certain actions could end up jeopardizing any future insurance claim or lawsuit. Contact an experienced Albuquerque attorney before taking any steps that may compromise your legal rights following a collision.