Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is among the last things people want. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be annoyed, startled, shocked and even injured. Or all the above.
Now, you must protect yourself and take the right precautions in the aftermath of a car collision. Along the way, you want to be precise and avoid mistakes. Doing so could jeopardize any potential legal claims that could help pay for your medical expenses and loss of income.
Ignoring injuries, failing to gather evidence
Here are some of the common mistakes made after a car accident:
- Underestimating your injuries: Some people do this without realizing that they may have delayed symptoms that could lead to serious injuries. A headache may mean a concussion. A sore neck could mean whiplash, and abdominal pain is a potential sign of internal bleeding.
- Failing to promptly act: Do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Do not hesitate to contact your insurance company, and do not hesitate to contact a legal ally. Delays in any of these categories may lead to certain hardships.
- Providing excessive information to insurance companies: Insurance companies are not really looking out for you. They want to make sure they only pay out as little as possible. Only provide basic information related to the accident. Be especially on the alert for the other driver’s insurance company. It will attempt to pressure you to get you to say things that will work against you.
- Failing to contact authorities: You want to make sure that there is a record of your accident. Ignore any pleas from the other driver who may apologize profusely and not want you to contact police. This information helps lay the foundation of any potential legal claim you may pursue.
- Admitting fault: Even if you are at fault, do not admit it. After an accident, you likely will talk to the other driver, authorities, witnesses and your insurance company. Stick with the facts and answer basic questions. What if during the subsequent investigation, police discover that a major mistake by the other driver contributed to the accident? Your earlier admission of fault may lead to certain financial consequences for you.
- Failing to gather evidence: This includes name of the other driver, his or her insurance company, type of vehicle and license plate. Other evidence to obtain include accounts from witnesses, the name and badge number of the investigating officer. Make sure to take photos of the accident with your phone camera and obtain the accident report.
- Agreeing to a quick settlement: This is what the other driver’s insurance company wants you to do. It will try to quickly sweep and provide you with a low-ball offer. Do not take it.
- Discussing your accident on social media: We live in an age where oversharing seems to be the norm. Writing about your accident on social media may provide evidence that the other insurance company may use against you.
Please make sure to look out for yourself after a motor vehicle accident. Seek medical attention, gather evidence and make sure not to disclose too many details that could work against you potentially leading to a smaller settlement than you deserve.