9 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make After a Car Crash
So, you got into a car crash. Now what? You may feel upset, confused and overwhelmed. It’s hard to think clearly in a stressful situation like this, which is why it helps to be prepared. You need to know the proper steps to take following an accident because one mistake could hurt your chances of recovering damages. Check out our list of 9 mistakes you don’t want to make after a car crash.
Mistake #1: Not Calling The Police
Always call the police after a motor vehicle collision. The other driver may try to pressure you into not calling the police. Don’t listen to them. Get a police report no matter how minor the crash was. A police report states what happened and serves as valuable evidence. It will prevent those involved from making false claims later on. Be sure to get a copy of the police report.
Mistake #2: Not Obtaining Information
Always exchange information with the other driver(s), regardless of how minor the accident appears. Even if you feel no pain right away, injuries may arise the next day. What if you leave the scene of the accident thinking everything is fine, only to wake up in pain? You’ll need the other driver’s information to properly file a claim.
Smartphones have made it easier to exchange information. You can type the information in your phone instead of using a pen and paper. Additionally, taking clear pictures (where appropriate) is a great way to include the picture of the driver and avoid misspellings. You should get the following information:
- Insurance info (company and policy number)
- Phone number
- License number
- License plate number
- Make and model of vehicles
- Vehicle owner’s information if different than driver
- Any witnesses’ contact information
- Name and badge number of the police officer
Mistake #3: Admitting Fault
Never admit fault after a crash. While you may be accustomed to saying “I’m sorry”, it’s best not to.
Admitting fault could be used against you at a later time. It may hurt your chances of collecting damages.
Even if you believe you caused the crash, you may be incorrect. Other circumstances beyond your control could have contributed to the crash. All the crash details may not be immediately known to you. Remember, it is possible for both drivers to be partially at fault.
If you believe the other driver was at fault, don’t accuse them or be rude. Keep your cool.
Mistake #4: Not Taking Pictures
Take pictures of the scene of the accident if it is safe to do so. Photos serve as crucial evidence. Try to get photos of the following:
- All vehicles involved (including damage and the position they are in)
- Inside of vehicles (such as the airbags)
- Street signs
- Skid marks
- Damage to property like guardrails or signs
- Your injuries
Mistake #5: Not Getting Medical Attention and Treatment
It’s essential to be examined by a medical professional following an accident. Some injuries may not be noticeable until hours or days after the crash. Go to the doctor if you feel any pain. Make sure you get documentation of the injuries you sustained in the crash as it will support your injury claim.
You also need to get appropriate treatment. If something is bothering you even months after the accident, don’t try to tough it out. Treatment can be expensive, but an experienced attorney can get you full compensation for your medical bills.
Be sure to keep all records such as medical bills and lost wages you incur as a result of your injury. These records are vital in a personal injury claim.
Mistake #6: Not Contacting Your Insurance Company
You must report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, it could hurt your chances of recovering damages.
Mistake #7: Trusting the Insurance Company
Insurance companies may try to take advantage of you. An insurance company is a business, and businesses want to make money. They may get information from you that could decrease the value of your claim. They may also try to deny the claim completely. Do not give the insurance company any statements or sign anything without talking to an attorney first.
Mistake #8: Accepting the Insurance Company’s First Offer
Insurance companies want to settle claims quickly and spend as little money as possible. The first offer they give you will likely be too low. You could lose out on receiving full compensation if you accept the first offer. Having an attorney on your side will ensure this doesn’t happen.
It’s important to know the full extent of your injuries before you settle. This way, the settlement will take the long-term physical and financial effects of your injuries into account.
Mistake #9: Not Contacting a Qualified Car Accident Lawyer
Regardless of the severity of the accident, you should contact an attorney to discuss what happened. A skilled auto accident attorney will help protect your rights. Having a lawyer is especially crucial if you suffered severe injuries. A lawyer will deal with the insurance company and fight to get you the highest compensation possible. It’s best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Car Accident Lawyers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Kane & Silverman’s team of car accident lawyers in Philadelphia, PA and Marlton, NJ will evaluate your claim free of charge. You don’t pay anything unless we win your case. Call us at 215-232-1000 or fill out our contact form online.