There are a lot of things to do – and not to do – in the moments and days after a car accident. But, between the chaos and stress, it’s easy to make a small mistake that can have big consequences later on. Here are the seven biggest mistakes that you should look out for after a car wreck:
1. Not calling the police.
If the accident was small, simple, and there weren’t major injuries, a lot of people think a call to the police isn’t worth it. This is a big mistake! After an accident, emotions are high. Having a calm, third-party who is experienced with car wrecks can be more help than you can imagine. Calling the police is also the key to getting an accident report that almost all insurance companies require.
2. Getting inadequate information.
Many people get the name and insurance information of the other driver, take a few pics, and call it a day. In reality, you need to collect a lot more information. From the other driver, you also need their vehicle information and full address. You should also get the name and badge number of the officer you called earlier, plus the police report that they write on the accident.
Along with photos of the cars, you should also photograph the entire crash scene including damaged buildings and any skid marks. If there are witnesses, make sure to get their information too in case their statement is needed down the road.
3. Refusing medical care.
There is so much to do in the aftermath of an accident, seeing a doctor isn’t always the top priority – especially if you feel fine. Don’t be fooled. The shock and adrenaline of an accident can mask some major injuries that only get more serious if they aren’t treated. Also, waiting to see a doctor can make it harder to link your injuries with the accident.
4. Saying too much.
Southern manners might lead you to apologize to the other driver or even take responsibility for the accident. Don’t. Aside from making sure they are physically okay and exchanging information, you shouldn’t talk to the other driver at all. Instead, tell your story to the responding officer and stick to the facts.
This is even more crucial when it comes to your insurance company. Give them a factual statement that doesn’t include how you feel. Remember, even if you feel guilty, you never truly know who was breaking the law until after the police report is made and the insurance company investigates.
5. Saying anything to the other insurance company.
You’re required to report your accident to your insurance company, but you definitely shouldn’t talk to the insurance company of the other driver. Even if they sound official, even if they act caring, just say no. Remember they’re not here to help you and it’s your right to say no!
6. Accepting a settlement.
It’s hard to refuse money. But once you accept an insurance company’s settlement, it’s game over. If you have surprise car repairs or unexpected medical expenses down the road, they won’t help you. Even if the bills are clearly related to the accident.
Remember, an insurance company wouldn’t be offering you a settlement if they didn’t think your case was worth something. Don’t accept their first offer.
7. Not talking to a lawyer.
These mistakes are so easy to make, especially in the chaos that follows an accident. Who has time to worry about saying the wrong thing or collecting statements when you’re just trying to get your car back on the road?
That’s where an experienced car accident attorney can help. They deal with the insurance companies, investigations, and deadlines so you can focus on getting your life back to normal. If you’re worried about affording one, you can relax. At Tracey & Fox, you pay nothing upfront or out of pocket. We only get paid if we win your claim.
Don’t let a mistake ruin your future, especially when an intro meeting with an attorney is absolutely free. Schedule your free consultation at Tracey & Fox today! Contact us today.