Car accidents are unpredictable on when they can occur and to whom. When dealing with the aftermath of a collision, it’s easy to get overwhelmed as there is so much you have to deal with. From the medical checks and police reports to taking on the insurance and litigation, there are many things you ought to do. Here are common mistakes to avoid after a car accident.
1. Not Collecting Evidence
Evidence collected immediately after an accident can be used to prove fault damages and help establish a timeline of events. In the heat of the moment, it is understandable that some people may overlook this step and forget to collect critical evidence. Taking photos of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and any visible injuries or property damage can help preserve important evidence.
2. Not Seeking Medical Attention
It’s likely to overlook seeing a doctor whenever the injuries are minor. Avoid the temptation and visit a medical center where the medics will thoroughly examine you. Remember that some health issues may not show symptoms immediately, making you think everything is alright.
Delays worsen the conditions with time, which can be worrying and confusing when time has passed. It becomes hard to convince the insurance or the courts that the health problems you’re going through result from the accident if there is nothing to show that. By prioritizing medical attention, you’ll get a doctor’s report highlighting all the injuries and expenses you’ve incurred from the accident.
3. Neglecting to Call the Police
After being involved in an accident that causes property damage or injuries, the jurisdictions mandate that the police need to be present. Law enforcement officers not only bring order and calmness, but they also help connect with the fast responders, which makes everyone safe.
Most importantly, they’ll create a report that captures critical details of the accident. They secure the area and take photos and videos of the scene. Plus, if there are witnesses, they’ll document their statements. All these details become essential to your evidence and the preliminary fault determination process.
4. Not Seeking Legal Advice
It’s easy to feel like you can DIY the legal tasks and insurance procedures. This is especially true when you know what could lead to your success. However, doing this puts you at a risk of losing your compensation and not getting it right with the negotiations. Engage an attorney as these professionals understand the processes and are better positioned to take on the insurance and other parties. Don’t go through the complicated and confusing process alone. Seek the help of a qualified lawyer and let companies like Legal Finders connect you with the best in your area.
5. Leaving the Scene of the Accident
After the accident, wait until the law enforcement teams arrive and collect the necessary information regarding the incident. Leaving the scene deprives you of information that hinders your later plans with insurance or legal action. For instance, it’s expected that you get the other driver’s name, license number plate, and insurance company. This makes the claim filing and legal action bound to succeed as you’ll plan everything using the correct details.
6. Delaying Notification to Your Insurance Company
Many insurance companies require you to contact them within a certain period following the accident, usually within 24 or 48 hours. This time limit is crucial as it allows your insurance company to begin the claims process promptly. Delaying notification may give the insurance company a reason to believe that the injury or damage was not caused by the accident or that it was not as severe as you claim. You risk potentially invalidating your insurance coverage and forfeiting the opportunity for compensation when you fail to report an accident immediately.
7. Settling Too Early
Immediately settling with insurance companies or other parties is one of the biggest mistakes people make after a car accident. A quick settlement usually means a lower compensation rate, which often does not cover the full extent of the damages or injuries incurred. Take enough time to assess the extent of the damages and consider legal advice before settling with insurance companies. Ensure you understand the full extent of damages and get a copy of the police report; only sign agreements, waiver, or documents after consulting a lawyer or personal injury attorney.
8. Admitting Fault
Admitting fault could render you legally responsible for the damage and injuries caused in the accident, irrespective of whether or not that was the case. Cooperating with the other party and exchanging contact and insurance information is crucial. However, you should avoid discussing the details of the accident or judgments about fault. Fault is usually determined through an investigation of the accident by law enforcement and is sometimes a determination made solely by an insurance company.
Car accidents being distressing can negatively impact life in different ways. You must take the proper steps to get your life back on track. Most importantly, avoid common mistakes that make getting the compensation you deserve after the accident is harder. Seeking legal advice, notifying the insurance company, collecting evidence, avoiding admitting fault, and seeking medical attention are essential steps to take after an accident.