Being in a car accident can shake you to your core and how you deal with it can have a major effect on the future.
What you do after a car accident will have profound consequences, good or bad. That’s why it’s vital to know what steps to take, and just as importantly, what mistakes to avoid.
In this article, we’re going to focus on the top things people do wrong after a car accident, in hopes that you can avoid their mistakes. Of course, we hope you’re never in an accident in the first place, but it’s better to be prepared!
Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
Most of us never think about what happens after an accident. What happens if it’s not handled correctly? What if the parties involved make an error and their insurance refuses to cover the damages?
What if it happened to you?
Keep reading for our top list of mistakes to avoid after a car accident. Learn how to keep your life on track after the worst!
- Not Calling the Police
After a car accident, you aren’t necessarily required to call the police. However, it’s always a good idea, especially if you estimate the damages to be more than $1000, if there are injuries, or if something else was damaged. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Once you have contacted the police, they may tell you just to exchange information with the other driver. This is common in fender benders and other low-damage accidents.
The police can help collect important evidence and point to the cause of the accident, which would be helpful to you while filing your insurance claim.
- Not Taking Pictures
Almost every adult driving likely has a cell phone. Most of them will be smartphones, but even basic phones have cameras.
It would be a mistake not to start taking pictures after a car accident, assuming you’re not seriously injured. Depending on the situation, the vehicles may need to be moved right away. Taking pictures is necessary for gathering evidence for your insurance claim, police, and possibly an attorney.
Make sure you take pictures of the entire scene of the accident. This includes both cars, skid marks, damaged signs, or anything else affected by the accident.
- Not Getting Witness Statements and Information
Another mistake many people make after a car accident is failing to get witness statements. For insurance and legal purposes, people will often deny being at fault during an accident. Whether they were on their phone or failed to yield, they don’t want to face the legal ramifications.
Witness statements are a great way to help your case. They are valuable both to the police and your insurance company. You may not have time to write down or record statement, but you can get witness names and phone numbers at the very least.
- Not Getting the Other Driver’s Information
This should go without saying, but it’s important to get the other driver’s information after a car accident. You’ll want their name, phone number, insurance company name, and policy number. This information will be vital for filing an insurance claim, especially if they’re at fault.
Additionally, have your phone ready to snap a picture of their license plate, just in case they choose to flee the scene. People without insurance or those who have other legal complications may choose not to stick around.
- Admitting Fault
Regardless of how you feel about it, never admit fault after a car accident. If you suspect you were in the wrong, you don’t necessarily know all the facts.
For example, you may have been on your phone, but the other driver could have failed to yield or ran a stop sign. It doesn’t make you right, but it doesn’t put you at fault either.
You should even avoid apologizing at the scene of an accident, as it admits fault.
- Not Filing an Insurance Claim
Because people don’t want their insurance costs to go up, they’ll often avoid filing a claim if the accident is their fault. However, if there are expensive damages or injuries involved, filing an insurance claim could keep you from going bankrupt.
You also don’t want to file your claim too late, regardless of who’s at fault.
There are some scenarios where it may not be necessary to file a claim, but you should always err on the side of caution.
- Leaving the Scene of the Accident
After a car accident, the last thing you want to do is leave the scene. Even if the damage is negligible, leaving without exchanging information with the other driver is illegal.
If the accident is severe and you choose to leave out of panic, you could be facing severe legal ramifications.
- Not Seeing Your Doctor
One major mistake people make after a car accident is failing to see their doctor. Even if you feel like you haven’t been injured, you still need to make an appointment.
It’s incredibly common for people to experience a delay in feeling pain. However, if the injury is going to cost you money in any way, it needs to be filed in your insurance claim.
- Accepting an Unfair Settlement
If you’re in an accident and are owed compensation, you don’t have to settle for the first offer you get. In fact, it’s important to build a strong case with all of the evidence, police reports, and an attorney.
The other side will probably start on the low end, but if they know you’re serious about pursuing full compensation, they will be more likely to pay up.
- Not Hiring a Lawyer
This leads us to our last mistake people make after a car accident. Failing to hire a lawyer can be a critical error, especially if you are owed compensation for damages or medical expenses.
An attorney can even help you get the most out of your insurance claim, regardless of the severity of the accident or who was at fault. At the end of the day, insurance companies are business. They don’t like spending money any more than you do.
Get a Free Consultation
If you’ve been in a car accident and think an attorney might benefit you, you’re probably right!
Contact us for a free consultation after a car accident. We’re here to help people like you get the most out of your claims and get the compensation you deserve.