Car accidents are among the many misfortunes you may encounter on your way to or from work, when picking up or dropping off your kids at school, or when you’re just running errands.
In one way or another, the accident may damage your car and affect your physical health if you get injured. You may even miss work due to the accident.
There might be so much going on in your head immediately after the accident. It may be almost impossible to think clearly and do what you must, especially if someone is injured. You may make some decisions that can compromise your case.
It is recommended to try as much as possible to avoid such mistakes. Here are eight mistakes to avoid when dealing with an auto accident:
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1. Refusing To Hire A Car Accident Attorney
One of the mistakes you may make after encountering a car accident is failing to contact a lawyer. Working out an accident scene is an intricate process that involves the police and the insurance company, and it’s something you wouldn’t want to do alone, especially when you’re injured. You should, therefore, ensure you contact your attorney immediately after the accident.
The benefit of hiring a car injury attorney is that they’ll help defend your rights and advise you on your legal options. They can also handle complicated legal proceedings and help you file your claim. Your lawyer will also advise you on a reasonable compensation plan.
2. Failing To Call The Police
The first call you make shouldn’t be to your family but to the police. Whether it was a minor or major injury, you should always call the police. If you don’t involve the police, you won’t be able to prove who caused the accident. It’ll be your word against the other party’s, which won’t hold up in a court of law.
The responding police officer may not be there to help you build your case, but they’ll pick up a few clues from the scene that will act as a starting point for the insurance company when you file a claim.
They’ll collect original evidence that no one can alter, which will be very helpful in the event of a lawsuit. Not calling the police is a mistake that may prove you guilty in the eyes of a jury and the insurance company.
3. Leaving The Accident Scene
You should never leave the accident scene before filing a report. Leaving the scene is seen as an illegal act, and you may get additional charges. The action will also act as proof against you. You’ll also miss critical information that may help you win the case. The guilty party may also take the opportunity to alter the scene to protect themselves from a lawsuit.
However, you’re allowed to leave the scene under the following conditions:
- If you require immediate medical attention
- If you need to find a way to contact the police
- When your safety is threatened by being at the point of the accident
Leaving the scene without being threatened or needing medical attention makes you feel guilty. Instead, you can start looking for evidence and witnesses who have seen the whole event if you’re not in a critical condition.
Remember, you can only collect proof of the accident on the site; once you leave, you may not get access to it.
4. Not Documenting The Event
Another mistake you could make after an accident is failing to collect evidence or record every detail of the accident. Gathering evidence will help you pursue your injury claim and prove the other party is responsible for the accident.
Remember, the more evidence you have, the better chances you have to protect yourself from a lawsuit and file your claim. You can even take pictures of the scene, the injuries, the car damage, and other things that may have played a part in the accident.
Check if the accident occurred in an area with security cameras and request a copy of the footage. It’ll help you jog your memories in case you were too shocked to recall the event. You can also get the contact details of witnesses or other drivers around the scene to support your claim.
5. Declining Medical Attention
It’s vital to see a doctor after the accident, even if you weren’t hurt. Unless you see a doctor, you won’t know of hidden injuries like concussions, brain hemorrhages, contusions, and internal bleeding. If not spotted on time, these injuries could have lasting consequences on your health.
Also, visiting a doctor for a check-up will help prove that you were in the accident. However, you may never get to verify that the injuries are from that particular event or accident if you push forward your visit for a long time.
6. Accepting The First Insurance Offer
Be cautious of the insurance company. They’re cunning and will try to reduce the amount payable as much as possible. Therefore, consult your injury attorney before accepting an offer from the insurance company. Chances are, you deserve more than they’re willing to offer.
Be careful not to sign any paper, even a car damage release form. It may have some fine print that discharges future injury claims. Therefore, take your time to build the best case to get the compensation you deserve.
7. Filing A Claim After A Long Time
Don’t wait too long before filing for personal injury. Most states have a timeline for filing a claim after an accident. The court strips you of your rights to your claim when you miss the deadline, leaving you with high medical expenses and lost wages if you miss work from a car accident.
That said, you should be aware when the insurance company tries to drag the process while waiting for you to run out of time. If you miss the deadline, you can never file for personal injuries or lost wages again.
8. Admitting Fault
Never admit fault or apologize to the other driver for the accident. It shows you’re liable for the accident, and they won’t hesitate to use your act of kindness against you to win a lawsuit.
You may think that you caused the accident, but there may be other factors that contributed to it. For instance, you could have been texting while driving, but the other driver might have lost control of the car while trying to dodge hitting a dog crossing the road.
Getting into a car accident is tragic and may leave you with life-long injuries. However, you should avoid the mistakes discussed in this article if you want worthy compensation for your injury claim. Seek medical care immediately, and don’t sign any documents without a go-ahead from your auto accident attorney.