Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, no matter how minor. They can leave you feeling shaken and confused about what steps to take afterward.
With so much happening all at once, it’s easy to make mistakes that could cost you in the long run. To ensure that you don’t fall into traps after a car accident, we’re here to discuss the most common mistakes people make and how to avoid them. From not exchanging insurance information to ignoring medical advice, read on to learn more about what you should—and shouldn’t—do after an automobile incident.
Immediately Following the Accident
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to stay calm and avoid making any mistakes that could jeopardize your claim. Here are some common mistakes people make after an accident and how to avoid them:
Not Calling the Police
One of the most common mistakes people make is failing to call the police after an accident. Even if the damage appears to be minor, it’s important to have a police report on file. Without a police report, it will be much more difficult to prove that the other driver was at fault.
Failing to Exchange Information
Another mistake people make is failing to exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident. Be sure to get the other driver’s name, contact information, insurance information, and license plate number. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the other driver’s license and insurance card for your records.
Not Documenting Damage
It is critical to take photos of any damage to your vehicle and to keep track of repair estimates and receipts. This documentation will be essential if you need to file an insurance claim or take legal action against the other driver.
Not Getting Treatment Right Away
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s important to get treatment immediately – even if you don’t think your injuries are serious. Many injuries, such as whiplash, may not show symptoms immediately but can still be extremely painful down the road. If you wait too long to get treatment, insurance companies may argue that your injuries are unrelated to the accident.
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to make mistakes and let emotions get the best of you. However, after an accident, it’s important not to admit fault or apologize for anything. Even if you think you may have caused the accident, avoid saying anything that could be construed as an admission of liability. Let your attorney handle any liability discussions with the other driver or insurance company.
Not Talking to an Attorney
Whatever you may think you know about the law as a layman, there are things you probably never even heard of. Even if it seems like a minor accident, it is always a good idea to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can advise you on how best to proceed with your case. An attorney can answer any questions you may have about the legal process, help you understand what options are available to you, and determine if taking legal action is worth pursuing in your situation.
Not Contacting the Insurance Company
It is important to contact your insurance company after an accident – even if it wasn’t your fault. Failing to do so could result in a delayed or denied claim. Your insurance company may also be able to provide you with helpful advice and resources as you navigate the legal process.
In the Days and Weeks After the Accident
The days and weeks after a car accident can be confusing and overwhelming. There are a lot of things you need to do to ensure that you are taking care of yourself and your family, and it can be difficult to know where to start.
One of the biggest mistakes people make after an accident is not keeping track of expenses. After an accident, you may have unexpected expenses such as medical bills, car repairs, or rental car fees. It is important to keep track of these expenses and to save all receipts in order to make sure you are fully reimbursed for any costs related to the accident.
Finally, do not let the insurance company take advantage of you. The insurance adjuster may try to get you to settle for less than your claim is worth. Do not sign any documents or accept any settlements without consulting with a lawyer.
Months After the Accident
It’s been a few months since the accident, and you may think that everything has gone back to normal. But there are a few things you should still be doing to make sure you are fully recovered.
First, if you are still dealing with pain or other medical issues from the accident, make sure to see a doctor or specialist regularly. It is important to keep track of your symptoms and how well you are recovering to ensure you get the treatment you need.
Second, keep an eye on your finances. If you have not yet received a settlement from the insurance company, now is the time to start working on that. If you have been receiving treatment for your injuries, make sure to keep all of your receipts and documentation so that you can be reimbursed.
Finally, if you are having difficulty returning to your normal life or routine after the accident, consider seeking out counseling or therapy. Many people find it helpful to talk about their experiences with someone who understands what they’re going through. By following these steps, you can help ensure that you are taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally after a car accident.
Hiring an Attorney
Most people know that they need to see a doctor after a car accident, but many do not realize the importance of hiring an attorney. Many insurance companies will take advantage of accident victims who are not represented by an attorney. The insurance adjusters are trained to settle claims quickly and for as little money as possible. An experienced car accident attorney will fight for the full value of your claim and make sure you are compensated for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.