10 Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident – Guest Post

  

Avoid Car Accident

Accidents happen, but knowing what to do and not to do after a car accident can be crucial. Being in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. With over 6 million car accidents occurring in the U.S. each year, resulting in approximately 3 million injuries and 36,000 deaths, it’s crucial to know how to respond appropriately after an accident.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the 10 common mistakes to avoid when you find yourself in such situations. These simple steps will protect you legally and financially.

Making the wrong moves could negatively impact any insurance claims, medical treatment, and legal proceedings down the line.

Common Mistakes After a Car Accident That You Should Avoid

Car accidents can be stressful, and it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re in a shock state. If you’ve been in an accident, it may be better to consult with an experienced expert who can advise you, such as the Denver car accident lawyers at Genco Injury Law. These lawyers are experts at making sure people who’ve been in accidents get treated fairly and get all the money they should.

One real case study that took place in Denver involved the car accident lawyers at Genco Injury Law. They helped a client who had been seriously injured in a car crash caused by a reckless driver. The car accident lawyers at Genco Injury Law immediately went to work, investigating the accident thoroughly. They gathered evidence, interviewed witnesses, and consulted with medical experts to build a strong case for their client. They also negotiated with the insurance company on behalf of their client to ensure that all medical bills and damages were covered. To avoid complicating matters, here are the top 10 mistakes to steer clear of after a car accident:

1. Fleeing the Scene

With emotions running high after an accident, your first instinct may be to leave the scene as quickly as possible. However, this is illegal and can have devastating consequences. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 11% of all crashes reported to the police involve a hit-and-run driver.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious mistake with multiple consequences. It can lead to criminal charges, loss of your driver’s license, increased insurance premiums, and legal liability. On an ethical level, fleeing the scene means avoiding accountability for your actions, which is not the right thing to do. So, always stay at the scene of an accident, exchange information, and report it to the authorities to handle the situation responsibly.

2. Not Calling the Police

Surprising, but many drivers who are in small accidents forget to call the police. However, having a police report is essential for several important reasons.

Initially, it provides an official record of the incident, which serves as key evidence for insurance and legal processes. With a study by the Insurance Research Council finding that 14% of drivers are uninsured, having a police report becomes even more critical for filing an insurance claim. Secondly, the report assigns fault and liability to the responsible parties. If the other driver tries to lie about what happened, your police report protects you.

3. Neglecting Medical Attention

When accident injuries like whiplash or concussions don’t seem evident right away, it’s common to brush off medical care. However, even minor collisions can cause internal damage and delayed symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury in the U.S., with an estimated lifetime medical cost of $18 billion.

Getting prompt medical attention is crucial because it creates a record of your injuries and the necessary treatment. If you don’t take your health issues seriously or delay seeing a doctor, your insurance company might question your injury claims, saying there’s not enough evidence. So, always seek medical care promptly after an accident to protect your health and your claim.

4. Admitting Fault at the Scene

When nerves are frayed after an accident, you may feel tempted to admit blame in the heat of the moment. But this knee-jerk reaction can severely undermine any legal defense down the line. Even apologizing can be misconstrued as an admission of guilt.

You might not know all the details that happened right after you met with an accident. Admitting your fault soon can give up your rights and give the other side an advantage in getting a bigger payout. So, it’s best not to accept your fault too early and let the investigation determine what really happened.

5. Not Documenting the Accident

Insurance companies rely on clear visual evidence to understand how the accident happened and decide who’s at fault. So, make sure to take photos and gather evidence like witness statements to help support your case.

Try to gather as much proof as possible, like photos of vehicle damage, skid marks, weather conditions, road hazards, traffic signs, etc. Obtain witness statements and contact information as well. Document your injuries via photos and medical reports.

6. Ignoring Legal Counsel

For severe accidents with injuries, property damage, unclear fault, or police disputes, consulting a car accident attorney is crucial. They protect your rights by managing correspondence, documentation, negotiations, claims resolutions, and court procedures. Without proper legal expertise, you risk accepting an unfavorable early settlement or failing to maximize the compensation you deserve. The right lawyer levels the playing field and advocates solely for your best interests.

7. Delaying Insurance Notification

One big mistake to avoid after a car accident is waiting too long to let your insurance company know. It’s important to report the accident as soon as possible, even if it seems minor at first. Waiting can cause complications and might even affect your coverage. So, remember, don’t delay, inform your insurance company right away if you’re in an accident.

Many policies require prompt notification of an accident, often within 24 hours. But, crash trauma can cause people to delay reporting out of being overwhelmed. Delayed notification can lead insurers to deny your claim.

8. Accepting the First Settlement Offer

After an accident, you may be tempted to accept the first payment offer and move on. But this tactic often backfires. Insurance providers typically extend the lowest initial settlement, hoping the injured party will take the bait.

An experienced attorney can push for a higher settlement through assertive negotiation tactics. There may be vehicle damage, medical treatments, lost wages, and other costs that you fail to factor in when hastily accepting an offer.

9. Overlooking Future Medical Expenses

Immediately following an accident, some health repercussions may be undetectable. Costs like physical therapy, surgery, chiropractic treatment, and prescription medications can arise down the road. Failing to account for these future medical expenses when settling your injury claim means paying out-of-pocket later.

10. Underestimating Emotional Trauma

Car accidents can result in not only physical injuries but also long-lasting psychological trauma. Issues like post-traumatic stress, anxiety, sleep problems, and more can surface long after the accident. Working with mental health professionals to assess conditions like depression, phobias, trauma, and grief caused by the accident is essential. Quantifying your emotional distress is important for receiving fair compensation for non-economic damages in your claim. So, don’t underestimate the psychological impact of a car accident and seek help to address it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I speak to the insurance provider before retaining a lawyer?

You have the right to engage counsel at any time, even before the insurer’s contact. An attorney can communicate with the insurer directly on your behalf and look out for your best interests.

How soon after the accident should I see a doctor?

Ideally, get checked by EMTs immediately at the scene and visit an emergency room promptly after. Follow up with your doctor as soon as possible, even for minor soreness. Delayed treatment hurts your injury claim.

What if the accident was partly my fault?

Most states follow either pure comparative negligence or modified comparative negligence, which allows you to recover some damages even when partially responsible. An attorney can still seek maximum compensation.

Conclusion

Being in a car accident is destabilizing, but making knee-jerk legal mistakes can profoundly impact your physical and financial recovery. Avoid these common errors, act prudently, document thoroughly, retain legal counsel, and make informed choices. With strategic action, you can obtain fair compensation and justice. Focus on healing, and let experts handle the rest.