It’s not fun to be involved in a car accident, but it’s even worse when you make the wrong choices afterward. From arguing with the other driver to waiting too long to file a police report, there are plenty of ways you could make things worse for yourself. Worse, these mistakes may come with consequences such as having to pay higher insurance premiums or even losing your coverage altogether.
To help you deal with the situation in a better way, we have come up with some of the most common mistakes people make after a car accident. Some are easy to avoid, while others require you to think fast and make decisions on the fly—so it’s best to be prepared. Read on.
Not Calling the Police
This is a mistake many people make, thinking they can handle the situation on their own or that the police won’t do anything if there’s no serious damage. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The police will document the accident and help identify potential witnesses. This is important if you need to file a claim with your insurance company or take legal action against the other driver.
Not Contacting an Attorney
An experienced car accident attorney can help you with:
- Filing compensation claim(s): If the other driver was at fault, you might be able to receive compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and property damage.
- Determining if you need to file a lawsuit: If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, you might have to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation you deserve.
- Estimating the value of your case: The attorney will be able to help you determine how much your case is worth and what you can expect to receive in compensation.
The attorney will also know how to negotiate with the insurance company to get you the best possible settlement.
Not Exchanging Information
Exchange your name, address, phone number, and insurance information with the other driver. This will help you and the police determine who was at fault for the accident. If you don’t have this information on hand, ask for it; if the other driver refuses to give it to you, let the police know immediately. Also, note the details on your smartphone and upload the document to the cloud to access it anywhere.
Not Documenting the Scene
If you have a camera on your phone, use it to take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and any skid marks on the road. These will be helpful when filing an insurance claim. In addition, take note of other important details, such as the weather and traffic conditions, which may have played a role in the accident.
Assuming You’re Not at Fault
Whatever your opinions are about the accident, don’t speak to the other driver or the police. This is because your statement could be used against you later, even if you’re telling the truth. If you must discuss what happened, do so with your lawyer or insurance company—not the other driver or the police.
Not Getting Medical Treatment
Get medical treatment as soon as possible. This will not only help you feel better, but it will also document your injuries in case you need to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. In addition, many insurance companies require that you get medical treatment within a certain time frame after the accident to receive compensation.
Not Filing an Insurance Claim
Even if you don’t plan on filing a lawsuit, you should still notify your insurance company about the accident. This is because most policies require you to do so within a certain time frame. Failure to do so could result in your claim being denied.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer
The insurance company will likely make a lowball settlement offer at first. Don’t accept it! Instead, counter with a higher amount. If the insurance company still refuses to budge, you may need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.
Getting involved in a car accident is an awful experience. The last thing you want to do is make the abovementioned mistakes and go down the rabbit hole of legal and financial problems. Avoid these mistakes if you’re involved in a car accident to deal with the situation effectively.