Originally published on newswire.net
Nobody expects to get tangled in a road accident. More often than not, a car accident is stressful, troublesome, and even traumatic. No matter how level-headed you are, it's easy to lose your patience and composure, especially if you believe the other party is at fault.
However, during such crucial moments, it's essential to avoid making mistakes that could only worsen the situation and get you in deeper trouble. Explore the following 10 common mistakes you should never do after a car accident, described by Underground Elephant:
1. Leave the police out of the equation.
When it comes to minor accidents, such as mild bumps that left a slight scratch or dent on your car, you may not have to contact the police. However, major accidents involving severe property damage, physical injuries, or deaths require calling the police as soon as possible. Failing to contact the police can have a serious impact on your right to claim just compensation if you need to file a claim. Make sure to remember the names of the police officers who arrive at the scene of the accident as well as their badge numbers, and don't forget to request a thorough police report.
2. Drive away.
Fear and adrenaline rush may push you to drive far, far away from the site of the accident. Even if you believe you're not at fault, you must stop and find out if the other drivers and passengers are not injured. Ask for medical help right away if necessary. If you drive away after an accident that led to severe injuries or death, you'll likely be committing a hit-and-run offense and risk suffering heavy criminal penalties, including license disqualification, costly fines, or imprisonment.
3. Get into heated arguments.
While it's understandable for most people to get angry after a car accident, try to maintain a calm temperament and avoid yelling back when the other drivers or passengers provoke you and lash out at you. Arguing with the other parties involved in the accident will only lead to more trouble and will further complicate the situation. Maintain a respectful attitude, cooperate when asked for necessary details, and communicate in a polite tone.
4. Refuse to share valuable information.
Some of the critical information you and the other drivers must share include names, contact details, addresses, basic insurance details, license numbers, and license plate numbers. Additionally, ask for the names, contact information, and addresses of the passengers. Ensure that you're providing correct information, as sharing inaccurate and misleading details is a serious offense. If you're not the vehicle owner, tell the other drivers the name and address of the car owner. Don't forget to jot down all the essential information you've obtained, and take clear photos of the site. To help with your claim evaluation, you may also want to ask for the names and contact details of any witnesses.
5. Accept that you're at fault.
Avoid readily accepting the blame and owning up to the accident, even if you believe you're the one who caused it. Most of the time, it's not easy to pinpoint the clear culprit right after the accident occurs. Careful investigation is necessary, and it can take quite some time to determine who's truly at fault. Both parties may be partly at fault in many cases, so make sure not to make unnecessary statements that the other party could exploit. Provide essential details only, and keep calm throughout the entire ordeal. A trustworthy and experienced attorney who knows how to deal with your particular situation can help lead you toward the right actions to take.
6. Offer or receive payment.
When your car gets damaged or when you suffer injuries, you may file a claim to obtain the right amount of compensation. Take note not to accept any form of payment from the other party, and do not offer payment as well. Avoid sharing details of the accident with the other party's insurance provider without first informing your insurer or lawyer. Consult your attorney if the other party attempts to offer an early settlement, which you should not accept until you've received full and proper treatment for all physical and other injuries.
7. Keep your insurance provider in the dark.
Despite worries about the repercussions of a car accident on your insurance premium, make sure to report the incident to your insurer and cooperate well. The insurance company may have valid grounds to refuse coverage of the accident if you're unable to contact them promptly. “Also, keep in mind that your insurer will still likely be informed about the car accident when the other parties involved call your insurance provider,” stated Underground Elephant. Just stay honest and polite when explaining your side, and submit the documents and paperwork your insurer requests from you.
8. Overlook important information involving your medical treatment.
Injury claim evaluations can take a long time and entail various processes, from investigating the accident site to carefully checking your submitted reports and hospital bills. To ease the process, it helps to collect and organize all relevant details in a journal. Include the names of health care providers who helped with your treatment as well as copies of all bills, receipts, and reports. You may also want to monitor and record how your injuries affected your overall lifestyle and work, particularly the number of days you missed work. Jot down the everyday activities you can't do as a result of your physical injuries, emotional pain, or mental suffering.
9. Get your car fixed without telling your insurer.
While you might be tempted to bring your car in for repairs, try to call your insurance company first to discuss your decision. Your insurer may authorize only approved automotive shops and may not cover repairs done in other car repair shops. If you want to save money and avoid shelling out your own funds for major repairs, let your insurer know before getting anything fixed.
10. Forget about property damage valuation.
Check the damage valuation conducted by your insurance company's representative to make sure that your car has been valued accurately. In the event of incorrect valuation, you can obtain two different repair or replacement estimates from other automotive shops to compare results and get a better perspective. Inform the claims adjuster about the improper valuation to correct the issue.
Knowing these must-avoid mistakes and the right actions to take, you'll be more prepared to tackle unexpected vehicle accidents. Remember always to prioritize safety when you're on the road, and follow the guidelines above to steer clear of costly mistakes. Work side by side with a reliable, experienced, and honest lawyer who can advise you and help you acquire just compensation for any damages and expenses.