It is understandable that people can sometimes feel overwhelmed and shaken up after a car accident. As a result, they are more prone to errors due to stress, shock, or merely because they are unfamiliar with the correct procedures. Here are five common mistakes people make after a car accident:
1. Not Calling the Police
Regardless of the severity of the accident, it is important to call the police. They can document the scene, take statements, and create a report. This report can be crucial when dealing with insurance companies or in potential legal disputes. Some people might decide to settle things among themselves without involving the police, but this can backfire if later disputes arise about the details or cause of the accident.
2. Admitting Fault or Liability
While it might seem natural to apologize or express regret after an accident, doing so can be interpreted as an admission of guilt or liability. It is essential to avoid making definitive statements about who was at fault. Let the authorities and insurance investigators determine the facts and assign blame. Stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the police, other drivers, and insurance companies.
3. Not Seeking Medical Attention
Some injuries, like whiplash or internal injuries, may not be immediately apparent after an accident. It is also possible that you may be in shock and this can possibly mask the pain and injuries. It is crucial to seek medical attention, not only for your health but also to create a record of any injuries sustained during the accident. This can be important for insurance claims or potential legal action.
4. Failing to Document the Scene and Gather Information
With the prevalence of smartphones, it is easier than ever to take pictures and videos of the accident scene. Document vehicle positions, damage, license plates, road conditions, traffic signs, and any injuries. You might want to also collect names, the driver’s license number, and insurance details. Additionally, gather contact information from any witnesses. This documentation can be invaluable during insurance claims or legal disputes.
5. Not Reporting the Accident to Insurance
Even if the damage seems minor or you think you can handle it out-of-pocket, it is essential to report the accident to your insurance company. Failing to do so might violate the terms of your policy, and if the other party later claims injuries or sues, you might find yourself without coverage.
In addition to these five mistakes, although this seems so obvious as to not even be worth mentioning, it is crucial that you do not leave the scene of the accident, especially if it results in injuries or property damage. Doing so can have serious legal consequences. In many jurisdictions, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident without reporting it to the police.
It is important to be informed about what to do after a car accident to protect yourself legally and ensure your well-being. If in doubt, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide clarity on your rights and responsibilities after a collision. The Nunley Law Group can help ensure that you are protected and that you receive the appropriate compensation after a car accident.