Frequently asked legal questions after a car crash

The steps you take after a car crash may protect you legally. These involve what to say about the incident and having an advance directive.

In a highly populated state like California, the chances are more than likely that most residents will get into an accident at some point. While hopefully a car crash will result in minimal damage and injuries, the aftermath can still be confusing and nerve-wracking. The actions that those involved in accidents take afterwards, as well as what they say, may end up making a difference legally. The following points detail some of the most frequently asked questions that people may have after an accident.

What should I say after a car accident?

According to Esurance, words may sometimes speak louder than actions immediately following a crash. For example, innocently saying sorry or admitting to having done something wrong in traffic may be seen by the other person or insurance agency as admitting guilt. It is all right to be concerned about the well-being of others after a crash, but it may also be best to keep conversation minimal while waiting for authorities to arrive at the scene. When speaking to law enforcement, insurance agents and others, information should be given factually and accurately.

What if the other driver didn't have insurance?

Driving without insurance is illegal in California, as well as most other states, but approximately one out of eight drivers are uninsured. Not having insurance does not get people off the hook for liability; in fact, uninsured drivers may find themselves in even worse legal trouble, since they don't have an insurance company to cover the costs. Those who are hurt in accidents caused by uninsured drivers may be able to seek compensation against them in court. It may provide additional protection to add uninsured or underinsured coverage on one's insurance policy. This can help cover medical expenses and property damage if the driver at fault was not insured or had insufficient insurance.

How do I protect myself if I'm incapacitated?

It is a possibility that those injured in crashes are rendered unconscious or otherwise incapacitated for some time after the event. In this case, some preparation ahead of time can make a difference. According to HelpGuide, advance directives are a way to prepare for this type of situation. Advance directives, or living wills, are often seen as end-of-life documents for older people or those preparing to go into major surgery. However, it is a wise idea to have an advance directive prepared for any unforeseen medical emergency. This document can provide family members instructions on the type of medical and supportive care to take during the period of incapacitation. Additionally, an advance directive gives people the power to name a trusted loved one as their health care proxy so confusion and family arguments may be avoided.

With some advance planning and knowledge of what to do after an accident, this stressful time may be a little easier to bear. It may also help to contact an experienced California personal injury attorney to discuss further legal options.