Five Mistakes to Avoid after a Car Accident
After a collision, you might be confused, scared, or in a lot of pain. However, the steps you take can dramatically improve or harm your chances of receiving financial compensation. At Earnhart Law, we see injured motorists make similar mistakes after their crashes. By avoiding these mistakes, you can set yourself up for a successful claim if someone else was at fault for the car accident.
Mistake # 1: You Admit Fault for the Accident
It is very tempting after an accident to apologize, even if you know you did nothing wrong. After all, the other driver might be in worse shape than you, and their car might be totaled. Car accidents can permanently change people’s lives. Having said that, you absolutely should not apologize for what happened.
Anything you say can be used against you later in court, including an apology. Instead, offer to call emergency services and ask the other driver if they need anything. However, you shouldn’t apologize and, in fact, shouldn’t discuss with the other driver what happened at all.
Mistake # 2: You Don’t Call the Police
Who wants to involve the police, especially if the accident isn’t serious? You’ll just end up waiting around for the officer to show up, when you could exchange insurance information and go your own way.
Nevertheless, it is vital to call the police and wait for an officer to arrive. The officer will investigate the crash, talk to witnesses, and examine the cars. The officer will also produce a crash report which should contain information necessary for determining who is at fault. Although the officer’s crash report is not the final say on what happened, it is a great starting point for your own investigation. For this reason, you should get a copy of the report as soon as possible.
Mistake # 3: You Wait to See a Doctor
Some injuries are slow to develop, so you might not feel any immediate pain after an accident. However, you are harming your ability to receive compensation if you delay. For example, injured motorists must see a medical provider within 14 days of an accident if they hope to tap their personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. If you wait, you can’t receive anything from your PIP policy.
Also, not going to a doctor makes it appear that you are faking any injuries that eventually develop. By going to a doctor, you protect your legal rights in case you decide to sue in court.
Mistake #4: You Take Too Long to Report the Accident to Your Insurance Carrier
Many carriers give their drivers a limited amount of time to report a crash, sometimes as little as 24-72 hours. If you wait too long, you can be denied coverage under the terms of your policy. Instead of waiting, pick up the phone and call your insurer as soon as you feel up to it. If you are struggling with pain and other injuries, ask a friend or family member to make the initial call.
Mistake #5: You Don’t Hire an Attorney
Injured motorists face many hurdles to receiving compensation for their injuries. Insurance carriers have become bolder at denying claims, even when you are trying to access your own PIP benefits. You might become confused about what forms to fill out and what medical information is necessary to make a claim.
At Earnhart Law, we help injured motorists navigate the maze of insurance forms and policy limitations. We have experience helping injured motorists bring lawsuits for their injuries when those lawsuits are appropriate, and we maintain our focus on maximizing the amount of compensation you receive. For a free consultation, contact us today.