On average in the United States, approximately 4.4 million people are seriously injured in car accidents. These collisions can involve any type of automobiles, like motorcycles, trucks, and rideshare vehicles, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that most people will find themselves in at least one car accident in their lifetime.
Motor vehicle accidents may be quite common, however, most people don’t know how to handle them when they do occur. One mistake can have dire consequences. Here are the eight mistakes you must avoid after a collision.
1. Admit Guilt
Everything that you say after you’ve been in a wreck can be held against you. It’s likely that you feel sorry or bad for what has occurred, but apologizing isn’t necessarily the right thing to do. Even if you haven’t admitted that you’re the one in the wrong, an apology can be used as proof that you feel that you were.
It’s up to the authorities to determine fault. They will ask the questions they need answers to and use that as a determination as well as other evidence. Whether you’re talking to the other person involved in the accident or the authorities, never admit guilt.
2. Not Going to the Doctor
You should always have a doctor examine you after being in a car accident. This will help identify any issues resulting from your accident. Doing so will also serve as documentation proving that your injuries developed because of the collision. You’ll need this evidence to claim any medical costs or pain and suffering for your settlement if you choose to file a personal injury claim.
There are many different types of injuries that can occur from a car accident, and the only people who can accurately diagnose them are medical professionals. Sometimes, these injuries may take a while to notice, which is why it’s important to immediately seek medical treatment.
3. Failing to Call the Police
Once the accident has occurred, the first step is to make sure that everyone is safe. Whether you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian accident, it’s important to make sure that all parties involved are ok.
The next step is to call the police. It doesn’t matter if it was a small accident with no apparent injuries, you should always call the authorities. They can determine fault, as they are trained to do so, and document their findings in a detailed police report. This is a step that will not only protect you at the time of the accident but later on if issues were to arise.
4. Fleeing the Scene
It may seem obvious, but when it comes to car accident advice there is no bigger mistake than fleeing the scene. At the moment, your immediate and innocent reaction may be to take off and try to avoid the conflict. This is understandable. Emotions are high and panic tends to take over. In reality, when you do this you have created a much bigger problem for yourself later on.
It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor. That’s why it’s best to take a minute and gather yourself and calmly handle the situation at hand. There are much bigger consequences to fleeing.
5. Being Confrontational
Again, emotions are high in these types of events. You might experience a wide range of emotions from sadness to panic to anger. Although apparent — and easier said than done — it’s best to stay calm after an accident. Being confrontational can make you look much worse and drive others involved to hold that against you.
No one wants to be in this situation. Even when the other party is acting confrontational, don’t stoop to their level. Behaving appropriately can do nothing but benefit you and the outcome.
6. Not Gathering Evidence
If you choose to file a claim against the other party involved, you need evidence. Calling the police is an important step to take and will help get you started with gathering evidence. But, it is also smart to gather your own evidence. Take photos of the collision, ask for contact details, share insurance information, and talk to other witnesses.
7. Contacting Your Insurance Company
You have an obligation to contact your insurance company after you’ve been involved in a car accident. However, you should not do this immediately after the accident. Before contacting your insurance or even communicating with the other involved party’s insurers, consult with an attorney for legal advice. Some car accident lawyers offer complimentary case evaluations with no obligation to hire them after. Their free legal advice can go a long way.
Sometimes, insurance companies aren’t fair in what they are willing to give you. This is why it’s important not to just take their word for it. Don’t wait too long to report the crash. Failing to report the incident may result in your claim being denied altogether, leaving you to take care of all of the out-of-pocket expenses.
8. Not Hiring an Attorney
Even when you think an attorney is unnecessary, you can never be too sure what will happen following the car accident. There are times that hiring a lawyer may not be needed. However, you might want to get advice from a car accident lawyer so they can explain what your options are.
Getting a qualified attorney is your best bet to protect you and your assets. Navigating the legal system can be difficult for someone who is not well-versed in personal injury law. There are complex laws and processes that you need to fully understand to know how to proceed.
Protecting Yourself After a Car Accident
All of these mistakes are ways that you can get yourself into real trouble. Car accidents are unique situations that no one wants to be in. However, it’s important to handle them the right way to avoid issues that are far more troubling and long-lasting.
Do you need car accident help? Contact Alpha Accident Lawyers today to speak with an experienced car accident attorney. We offer a free case evaluation and are ready to assist you.