It can be hard for people to think about what to do after an accident. They often do things that shouldn’t be done under such circumstances. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, understanding what errors to avoid can aid to make your claim go smoothly and guarantee you do not run into any problems in the process.
Perhaps you are confused and shaken by accident. It’s vital to keep your presence of mind under such circumstances so that you do not end up making an error in judgment that may cost you a lot at the end of the day.
Never Admit Fault
You may feel certain that you were responsible for the accident, but there’s still a procedure for determining fault, and it is best to allow the experts to figure it out first before you make any confessions. If the other party is mad and accuses you of being responsible for what happened, you must find a way to prevent them from making further accusations against you.
Just because another party is certain that you’re responsible for what happened does not necessarily make it so. You just won’t do yourself any good by admitting it. There may be instances that would seem rather obvious to you, but that’s still no reason to accept the liability in the scene of the accident.
If you’re giving a statement to the authorities about the accident, then the same principle applies.
Just inform the officer of what transpired during the accident according to how you remembered it and didn’t acknowledge any fault. Stick to the truth and let the auto insurance adjusters and the police review them and determine who is at fault.
Disclosure, especially when it comes to responsibility, could be quite troublesome to you, especially if the other party choose to sue for damages.
Do not Negotiate with the Other Party
In a small accident where nobody is harmed, and the damage seems to be minor, it can be enticing to keep the occurrence off the record. Perhaps, you find yourself in a place where the other party would like to handle the damage without talking to the insurance to stop a rate increase. It could sound as though a great notion on the surface, yet the results could be severe at the end of the day.
In numerous instances, individuals who are unprepared for such situations make common errors in dealing with the accident. These mistakes can be expensive and could damage a victim’s chances of being compensated. The article Top 5 Mistakes Made After A Car Accident by Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. lists these errors in an excerpt below:
- Not Filing A Police Report – A police report is an objective record of what took place, and it may end up being a vital piece of evidence toward proving what happened.
- Not Exchanging Information – Always exchange information with all parties involved in an accident, as well as any witnesses. This includes contact information, driver’s license number and license plate, insurance company and policy number, and the make and model of the vehicle.
- Not Seeking Timely Medical Treatment – Seeking timely medical treatment is important for both your health and your future claim. If you feel pain, prompt medical attention is crucial. Even if you don’t feel pain right after the accident, it’s important to have a physician properly assess you, as pain and injures may not manifest until hours later or the following day.
- Trusting the Insurance Company – Insurance companies are in business to collect premiums, not pay out claims to victims. Because they have an interest in protecting their bottom lines, insurers devote a lot of resources and effort toward minimizing or denying claims. This means they’ll often try to quickly settle for less than victims deserve, or look for ways to avoid paying anything at all.
- Not Working With an Attorney – One of the biggest mistakes victims make is attempting to handle their claims on their own. While there is no requirement to have a lawyer, having an experienced legal representative who is familiar with the process and how to produce the best results can make the difference between full compensation and less compensation than you need, or even none at all.
Negotiating with the other party to choose who should answer for damages and whether or not it ought to be taken to the car insurance company could put you in a tough position later if the accident becomes more serious than it looks on the surface; or if it happens that other party wants to submit a fraudulent claim against you once you have already decided to pay a particular amount of the damages.
Insurance agencies have a particular window in which they need you to tell them about an accident. When that window passes, perhaps, they decide to deny you financial coverage for the mishap. So if that driver reconsiders about bringing a claim against you (they have enough time to carry this one out legally), you may find yourself paying out-of-pocket on a claim meant for an injury revealed after the incident.
Even more worrying is the likelihood that you may become an insurance fraud victim by not being able to get the facts on record immediately, risking it for the other party to raise their claim.
Do not Leave the Scene of the Accident until Everything is Settled
This may look obvious, but your wish to simply go home and ease off can be a tough one. Do not leave the scene until you have obtained all of the details needed from the other party and have made the necessary consultations with the police.
If the other party is pushing to exchange contact information and work everything out afterward, it must be a bad warning for you. Be certain you have the other driver’s full contact information, including their insurance information as well as the contact info of any witnesses before leaving the scene.
If there are injuries or if the damage is severe, contact the police and remain at the scene of the accident without changing or doing anything until they turn up. By waiting a little bit longer and ensuring that everything has been noted correctly, you will avoid possible issues that may come with your claim.
To protect yourself after a car accident, the safest thing you can do is to allow the experts to handle the specifics. Be respectful to the other party and check to determine if anybody is hurt, and then avoid discussing what just happened.
Contact the police if you think that anything is strange at the accident scene, even though the damage is minor. Inform your auto insurance company immediately and allow them to decide who bears the responsibility. In the end, that’s why you have insurance.
Some mistakes are not included in the article mentioned, but the article Ten Biggest Mistakes After an Accident by Console and Hollawell PC supplements the errors in a detailed manner, but a list is provided below:
- Mistake #1: Underestimating Your Injuries
- Mistake #2: Waiting Too Long to Act
- Mistake #3: Giving Too Much Information to the Insurance Company
- Mistake #4: Failing to Call the Police
- Mistake #5: Admitting Fault
- Mistake #6: Failing to Gather Evidence
- Mistake #7: Accepting a Quick Settlement
- Mistake 8: Signing Anything from the Insurance Company
- Mistake #9: Using Facebook and Other Social Media Sites
- Mistake #10: Failing to Call, an Attorney
To dig deeper into the details of these mistakes, it would be best to consult a personal injury lawyer who specializes in automobile accidents.