The Do's and Don'ts After a Car Accident
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The Do's and Don'ts After a Car Accident

I was recently involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, since it was my first accident, I was scatter-brained and anxious. What I did not realize at the time was that the actions you take immediately after the accident can affect a personal injury case and the outcome of that case. I wanted to find a way to share my experiences and mistakes with other. Since the Internet is so popular, I figured this would be a great way to do so. While you likely aren't planning on being in an accident soon, if you are, hopefully you remember some of the tips I share on this website.

The Do's and Don'ts After a Car Accident

DWI: Know Your Rights

Yvonne Russell

A DWI, or driving while intoxicated, is very similar to the more common, DUI, or driving under the influence. Depending upon your state, the terms can be used interchangeably, or they could be used to differentiate between driving drunk and driving under the influence of a drug such as marijuana or pain killers. Many people do not know their rights when being pulled over, or while going through a typical DUI check point. Here is a short list of what to do, and what not to do:

  1. Your Vehicle- Police officers spend a large amount of time driving around and typing license plates into their computer system looking for anyone that has had a previous issue with drunk driving. Be aware of this when borrowing a friend's car. 
  2. Hands Up- Do not reach into your backseat or driver's side until the officer is in full view. Placing your hands on the steering wheel, with the dome light on, is the best way to ensure you are not a threat to the officer.
  3. Ensure You Have Been Pulled Over for a Just Purpose- The perfect question to ask, after giving the officer your license and registration, would be, "Is there a problem, Officer?" If you have been pulled over, you have the right to know why. Just because an officer had typed your license plate into his or her system and found you guilty of past crimes, this does not give him or her the right to stop you.
  4. Do Not Admit Guilt- There have been too many cases of drivers trying to be open and honest with officers about alcohol that was consumed very early on in the day, and these officers claiming the drivers were impaired nonetheless. You do not have to answer any question such as, "Have you been drinking?" Simply provide the officer with your paperwork and say, "Why? Is there an issue?"
  5. Do Not Perform Any Roadside Tests- Roadside tests, including walking a straight line or reciting the alphabet backwards, are not required of you in any state. Most sober drivers cannot pass these tests, and the only reason you are being asked to conduct them is so that the officer has probably cause to give you a chemical test. Politely decline.
  6. Chemical Tests- Many attorneys are split on whether you should consent to a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, because not consenting means you immediately have a suspended license, but it also makes the DUI or DWI charges less likely to make it through the court system.