When you or a loved one has a car accident, you may be unsure about the next steps. The time after the collision can be especially stressful and hectic when a serious injury occurs.

Protect your legal rights by avoiding these actions in the days and weeks following an auto accident.

Skipping the police report

Maybe you had a minor fender bender and no one experienced an injury, so neither driver calls the police. In the days following the accident, though, you begin to develop pain and find out that you need costly physical therapy. However, you have no police report to submit to the insurance company for coverage. No matter how small the incident, contact law enforcement.

Accepting fault

Even if you know you were responsible for the accident, admitting fault can impact any legal case that stems from the incident. Although you should be cordial to law enforcement, witnesses and other parties, do not say more than necessary about the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Failing to obtain medical care

Some common car accident injuries, such as damage and stress to muscle and soft tissue, do not manifest for several days or even weeks. If you sustained any type of injury in the car accident, seek medical care, no matter how minor your scrapes and bruises. If the injury worsens, you will have established documentation of the initial problem.

Discussing the accident on social media

If a lawsuit or even a trial results from your auto accident, posts made by either party on social media could become evidence. Do not say anything online about the incident, even if you think you are only sharing this information with a select number of followers.

Accepting the first settlement offer

If you experienced a personal injury and/or property damage in a car accident in New Jersey and another driver caused the incident, his or her insurance company will attempt to settle your claim. Often, insurers provide an amount that does not meet your actual costs. Keep careful documentation of expenses associated with the accident, so you can negotiate.