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Common Mistakes To Avoid After A Car Accident

Car accidents can be disorienting and stressful experiences, often leading to mistakes that can complicate your legal and financial recovery. It’s usually wise to follow the advice of your car accident lawyer, but there are many mistakes that victims make in between the time of the accident and their initial legal consultation that can affect the strength of their claim.

Our friends from Council & Associates, LLC note some common mistakes that car accident plaintiffs make and steps to avoid them.

1. Leaving The Scene

One of the most critical mistakes is leaving the scene of an accident, especially if there are injuries or significant property damage. In many jurisdictions, this can be considered a hit-and-run, which carries severe penalties, including fines and potential jail time.

2. Failing To Call The Police

A police report is an official record of the accident and can be crucial for insurance claims and potential legal actions. Without a police report, it can become your word against the other driver’s, complicating the determination of fault.

3. Admitting Fault

Admitting fault can be used against you later. Even saying “I’m sorry” might be construed as an admission of liability. Stick to the facts when speaking to the other party and the police, and let the investigation determine fault.

4. Not Seeking Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine after an accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal injuries, might not be immediately apparent. A medical evaluation not only ensures your health but also creates a medical record that can be important for any future claims.

5. Neglecting To Document The Scene

Use your smartphone to take photos and videos of the vehicles, their positions, any visible damage, skid marks, and the surrounding area. Collect contact information from witnesses, as their accounts can be valuable.

6. Giving Recorded Statements To Insurance Companies

Insurance adjusters may contact you soon after the accident to obtain a recorded statement. While it might seem like a routine procedure, be cautious. Insurance companies aim to minimize payouts, and your statements can be used to undermine your claim. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney before providing any recorded statements.

7. Settling Too Quickly

Insurance companies often offer quick settlements to resolve claims efficiently. While it may be tempting to accept an early settlement, especially if you’re facing medical bills or vehicle repairs, these offers are often far lower than what you might be entitled to. An early settlement might not account for future medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

8. Failing To Notify Your Insurance Company

Timely reporting of the accident to your insurance company is crucial. Many policies require prompt notification, and failing to report can lead to a denial of coverage. Provide them with the basic facts of the accident but refrain from extensive details until you’ve consulted with an attorney.

9. Not Consulting With An Attorney

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Avoiding these common mistakes after a car accident can significantly affect the outcome of your case.