Car accidents can be traumatic, especially if they involve any form of injury. Many victims of accidents hope to “move on” and put the memories behind them as quickly as possible. However, one can’t simply ignore the realities that follow an accident. Whether you are experiencing a car accident injury or not, it’s essential to follow the right steps after one occurs. Unfortunately, not everyone does — and these common mistakes could cost you in the end. Watch out for these mistakes and keep them in mind if you ever find yourself dealing with an accident.
1. Making an “Agreement” to Avoid Calling the Police
This informal arrangement is prevalent with more minor accidents and “fender benders.” One party might propose to the other that they simply exchange information and leave the scene together, keeping police out of the equation. This action is never prudent, as there will be no formal record of what happened at the crash site. It makes any future claims very hard to prove while making you susceptible to unfounded claims for damages.
2. Admitting to Any Fault At the Scene
After an accident, the urge to apologize to the other driver for the inconvenience of the entire experience is natural — especially if you suspect it may have been partially your fault. Regardless of the circumstances, you should avoid making any definitive statements about responsibility for the accident. Likewise, avoid accusations that can cause tempers to flare. The best course of action is to exchange information, wait for the police, and avoid any further conversation.
3. Avoiding Going to the Doctor or Hospital for Treatment
Many people hope to avoid visiting the doctor in general, not just following an accident. Concerns about large medical bills are not unfounded and can be a powerful motivator preventing you from seeking medical attention. However, without a doctor’s examination and the creation of medical records, it is hard to prove that your injuries were accident-related — which could cause you to lose out on opportunities for meaningful compensation.
4. Missing the Opportunity to Take Pictures or Video
It’s normal to be very shaken following an accident. Some say it is hard to think straight, while others suffer from anxiety. However, it is vital to document the scene while it is still exactly as the accident occurred. In future negotiations with the insurer, or even during a court appearance, such evidence could be key to proving which driver was at fault or how your injuries occurred.
5. Giving a Personal Statement to the Insurance Agency
In the days after an accident, your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer may contact you. Most likely, they will ask you to make some kind of statement about the accident “to provide your version of the events.” Politely decline this opportunity until you’ve had a chance to speak to a personal injury attorney. Such statements are often used to deny or reduce claims.
Related resources: 5 Possible Reasons Why Your Car Accident Insurance Claim Was Denied
6. Posting About the Accident on Social Media
In a time when we’re accustomed to sharing our day from moment to moment online, it can be hard to avoid posting about an accident on your social accounts. However, you should avoid doing so, as it can create evidence that may be used to deny your claim. For example, if you want to lodge a personal injury claim, but your Facebook page shows you at a party days after the accident, the facts won’t be on your side.
Don’t Miss Out on Your Legal Options
When you know what to do and what not to do following a car accident, you may help preserve your options to pursue a legal pathway for financial compensation from an insurance company or the negligent party. At HHJ Trial Attorneys, we can help. From negotiating with insurers to taking your case to court when necessary, our dedicated team defends your rights. To learn if you have a valid claim today, please contact us for a consultation.
Testimonial from Lizzie, a personal injury Victim in California
Adam and his team at HHJ are true professionals. They’re honest, responsive, and understanding. I really appreciate Adam’s honesty and he has been really helpful with addressing all my questions. Highly recommend!
Related resources: Six Steps You Must Take Immediately Following a Car Accident