As any car accident attorney can attest to, it is highly likely that you will be involved in a car accident at least once during your lifetime. Although car accidents occur regularly, people are often unaware of how to respond after an accident takes place. Consequently, even the most experienced drivers are prone to making critical mistakes.
Five Mistakes to Avoid
The following is a list of five important mistakes to avoid making after an accident:
1. Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
Under most circumstances, leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. Some states, for example, require that a driver involved in an accident provide assistance to the other driver. Additionally, your decision to leave the scene of an accident may cause the authorities to treat the accident as a hit-and-run. If you are unsure of what to do, call a car accident attorney.
2. Call the Authorities
After being involved in a car accident you should always contact law enforcement so that they can document the accident. The accident report created by law enforcement will be the only record of the accident and therefore it is important that the report is complete and accurate.
Some drivers decide not to contact law enforcement after an accident and attempt to resolve the situation between themselves. Unfortunately, without contacting law enforcement, there is no way to obtain an accident report. Because insurance companies rely on these reports to assess the accident, failure to obtain this report can adversely affect the claims process.
Moreover, the other driver involved in the accident may attempt to dissuade you from calling the police. This generally occurs when the other driver is trying to avoid contact with law enforcement, such as when they have been driving without a license. In these situations, it is particularly important that you call the police. Showing, for example, that the other driver was driving without their license, will likely be helpful should you decide to take legal action.
3. Do Not Ignore Injuries
Following a car accident, it is important to assess your injuries. If you notice that you have sustained injuries, you should seek medical attention immediately. Even if the injury appears to be trivial, it is important to have a medical professional examine you, since many serious injuries may not be readily apparent.
4. Do Not Apologize
Refrain from apologizing to the other driver, especially when you are not sure who was at fault. Any apology that you offer may be misinterpreted as an admission of liability and may affect your ability recover from your insurance company or the other driver.
5. Do Not Call Your Insurance Company
Do not call your insurance company immediately following a car accident. People who have recently been in an accident are often emotional and disoriented. Instead, you should wait until you have had enough time to calm down and think through what you want to say.
Additionally, you should wait until after you have received medical treatment before contacting your insurance company. If you sustained serious injuries in the accident, you may even want to speak with a car accident attorney first. Your initial conversation with the insurance company will have a significant impact on how your claims are processed. Therefore, it is important to wait until you have as much information as possible.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been in a car accident, contact the car accident attorneys at Mila Boyd Law Offices at (360) 558-387 for a free consultation.