The tense moments immediately after a motor vehicle accident, even a minor one, can be scary and stressful for everyone involved. Both drivers and passengers may feel confused and unsure of what to do and how to proceed. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make after a car accident that you should avoid.
Fleeing the scene
Leaving the scene of an accident could land you in some serious legal trouble. You may be in shock, but the most important thing to do is stay where you are. Check on your passengers, and once you exit your vehicle, check with the other driver involved in the accident. Try to remain calm and wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene. If you can, use your cell phone to take photos of your vehicle to document the damage that resulted from the accident while you wait for police.
Not calling the police
For minor accidents, many drivers may mistakenly think that a simple exchange of contact and insurance information is sufficient. In order to protect yourself and your rights, you should always contact the police and give them your account of the incident. Don’t take blame, but rather explain what happened from your point of view. They will take down a written report, which can play an important role in determining who was at fault.
Not seeking medical attention
Failing to seek proper medical attention immediately after an incident, no matter how minor the accident may have been, can be a costly mistake. If first responders are on the scene, don’t refuse to get checked out or tell them that you’re okay. You may not need a trip to the hospital, but you should describe what you’re feeling and allow them to evaluate your symptoms.
Don’t underestimate the extent of your injuries or the level of pain that you may experience as a result of those injuries. Often times in less severe motor vehicle accidents, the real physical pain may not become obvious until hours or days after the accident has occurred. Severe medical issues can result from an accident, even if they aren’t initially obvious.
Giving insurance companies too many details
Don’t trust the insurers to be on your side and see things your way. After all, they’re in the business of making money. There is some basic information that you are legally obligated to share with your insurance company after being involved in an auto accident. The risk is in sharing too many details, such as taking blame or accepting fault. After you have an accident, it’s not uncommon to be confused or unsure of key details. Seek legal counsel before allowing the insurance adjuster to make a recording of your account of the events.
Failing to hire a skilled lawyer right away
Waiting too long to hire a skilled attorney can make your case much more difficult. Take action quickly to ensure that your claim is handled as swiftly as possible. Keep in mind that not only does it take time to prepare a strong case, but there are also legal limits, known as the statute of limitations, that give you a window of opportunity you need to take advantage of in order to receive compensation for injuries and damages.
Car accidents are nerve wracking, sometimes chaotic experiences, even when they’re minor. Avoid making these common mistakes, and contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.
Do you have questions about a recent collision? Call for a free consultation toll free at (855) 693-9084 or locally at (978) 744-8000, or contact us online.