7 Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
On average, there are 6 million car accidents in the US each year and these accidents result in approximately 3 million injuries each year. Many of these accidents are avoidable and are due to the wrongful acts or negligence of other drivers.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. A car accident attorney can help you determine what your case is worth and help you build a strong case.
To get a fair settlement, though, there are some things you should and should not do after a car accident. Read on to learn more about the post-car accident next steps you can take and the things you should avoid doing.
1. Leaving the Scene of the Accident
Under no circumstances should you leave the scene of an accident before the police or EMS arrives. The police will want to speak to you, even if it is clear that you are not at fault. Further, you’ll need an accident report and the contact information of the officers who respond to the accident if you want to file a claim later.
If there are injuries or damage, you may even be subject to charges, as many states require you to stay at the scene of an accident where anyone is hurt or property is damaged.
2. Not Seeking Medical Care
Many car accident injuries are not apparent right away. Pain and injury may be masked by adrenaline but emerge in the hours and days after the accident. Even if you feel fine, you may have internal injuries that could prove fatal if they go untreated.
A medical professional will also be able to document any injuries you have and provide medical reports for you. These are necessary if you are seeking compensation for medical expenses.
If you don’t see a doctor and then go about your normal life, it could appear that your injuries aren’t serious. The insurance company of the other driver will often be looking for reasons to deny your claim, so don’t give them one.
3. Not Calling the Police
Many states also require you to call the police if there are any injuries or property damage after a car accident. You should always call the police after an accident. They can get your statement on record, talk to the others involved, interview witnesses, and document the accident.
You’ll also need a police report to file an insurance claim and will need one if you hire an attorney and seek compensation from the insurance companies of the other drivers involved.
4. Posting on Social Media
Anything that you post on social media could later be used against you. If you file a lawsuit, the insurance company is going to try to find a reason to get that lawsuit thrown out. If you post pictures on social media of you playing sports or engaging in risky behaviors, they could try to use that information to argue that your injuries aren’t severe and deny your claim.
You might even consider deactivating your social media accounts until your case is settled. This will prevent insurance companies and their attorneys from finding any shred of information that they could use against you.
5. Admitting Fault
Never admit any fault after an accident. In the aftermath of the accident, you might find yourself apologizing or saying something was your fault when it actually was not. Further, when you admit any sort of fault (even doing something so much as apologizing), the insurance company could use that against you later.
If there is any evidence that you’ve made an admission of guilt, it will be difficult for you to get a fair settlement.
6. Not Documenting the Accident
If it is safe to do so and your injuries are not life-threatening, take a few minutes to take pictures and video of the accident scene. You’ll want photos of your car, the other cars involved, the entire scene, and any damage. You can also take photos or videos of the traffic signs, signals, and other relevant things that can set the scene of the accident.
Make a note of the exact day, time, and context of the accident (for example, which direction were you traveling, what happened in the moments leading up to the accident, etc.). Make a note of the weather as well and if you remember what the other cars involved were doing, include that as well. The more details you can remember, the better.
You should also get the contact information of the other drivers involved as well as any witnesses. Don’t rely on the police to include this information in the police report and make sure to get it for yourself.
7. Accepting a Settlement Offer
Insurance companies want you to settle quickly and for as little as possible. They will often make a lowball settlement quickly after the accident. If you accept this offer, you can’t change your mind later or go back and ask for more money.
Don’t accept any settlement offer and don’t sign anything before you consult with a car accident lawyer.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney After a Car Accident
One last mistake you can make after a car accident: not hiring an attorney. If you want a settlement that fairly compensates you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future wages, you need an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company for you.
If you are in need of an attorney, contact Alpha Accident Attorneys. We handle all types of vehicle accident cases.