We drive to work, drop our kids at school, and take road trips with family and friends on weekends. Americans sure love to drive. But so many vehicles on the road means more traffic and a higher chance of accidents.
The US suffers 50% higher vehicle crashes than other high-income countries like Canada, Australia, and Japan. Vehicle crashes claim more than 38,000 lives every year.
Unfortunately, accidents are scary. Even a fender bender can leave you shattered. Although most people know what to do after a car accident, the stressful situation increases the likelihood of slipups. It is super-critical to avoid a few mistakes to protect your rights and ensure everyone’s safety.
Here’s what you should NEVER do if you are in a car crash.
- Leave the Scene of the Accident
Most car accidents are terrifying. Physical pain aside, a car crash can leave you in a shock. It’s natural for most people to feel scared when they are in an accident. Out of shear fear, you may feel an overwhelming urge to flee the scene of the accident.
However, scared or not, running away is never a good idea. For starters, it’s just wrong. You must try to help the injured as much as possible. If you don’t, the jury might take this as a sign of insensitiveness. It also makes you look guilty. These are some serious red flags when it comes to seeking compensation for your injuries.
Moreover, the law mandates you stay at the scene. Running away will result in severe penalties whether or not the accident involves serious property damage, injuries, or death. Instead, here’s what you should do.
- If possible, move your car to the side of the road.
- Do not leave the scene.
- Stop and evaluate the situation.
- Call 911 to get medical help for the injured.
- Not to Collect Insurance Information
Although obvious, most people forget this crucial step. You will need to collect the personal and insurance information of those involved in the accident.
When the police arrive on the scene, they will document and collect these details. However, it never hurts to document it yourself. Whether it’s a cyclist, the other driver, or pedestrian, remember to collect the following information before leaving the scene of the accident.
- Names, contact details, and addresses
- Car insurance policy number
- Name and contact details of the insurance provider
It’s also better to collect the driving license and vehicle registration number. While at it, you should take photos of the vehicles involved in the crash, number plates, and your injuries. You will need these details to file a claim with your insurance provider.
Furthermore, your car accident lawyer will ask for these details should you decide to seek compensation through court. They are also vital if your case calls for a reconstruction of the accident.
- Get Angry or Admit Your Fault
When you are in an accident, you could get angry, especially if it’s not your fault. Drunk driving accidents are a common example in this regard. However, losing your control will most likely worsen the situation. Never get angry or start a fight with the other driver even if they are at fault.
On the other hand, you may have an overwhelming urge to apologize, thinking you are partly at fault for what happened. But that’s not a good idea either. Your insurance company is not looking out for you. They will use your apology to implicate you, holding you responsible for the accident. It will jeopardize your compensation claim.
Besides, determining fault is not your job. That’s what the jury does. If you admit your fault, even by mistake, your car accident lawyer may not be able to help you. So, refrain from apologizing.
- Failing to Call the Police
No matter how trivial the accident looks, you should call the police and report it. The police will find clues and evidence that will help determine who is at fault and how much the damage is. That’s why a police report is critical when seeking compensation for your injuries and property damages.
It is also equally important to ensure the safety of other people on the road. Even small shrapnel or broken pieces of glass can be a serious safety hazard for others on the road. The police will secure the scene, preserve the evidence, and prevent further damage.
- Not Notifying Your Own Insurance Company
You have a contractual obligation to inform your insurance company of the accident. Failure to do so can have serious consequences. Many insurance companies will view this as a breach of your policy. They may use it as a means to reject your compensation claim.
However, do not mistake notifying your insurance provider for offering details. Keep it general. Don’t talk about whose fault it was or get into too many details. In fact, you should never talk to your or the other driver’s insurance company without the presence of a competent car accident lawyer.
- Underestimate Your Injuries
Another crucial mistake you should avoid is ignoring your injuries. Regardless of how minor they may seem, you should see a doctor. After all, it’s your health and safety on the line.
People are more likely to suffer internal injuries after a car accident. However, as adrenaline can mask the pain you may not feel discomfort immediately. It could be days or even weeks before the internal injuries come to light.
A quick visit to your doctor or an ER can help you identify potentially life-threatening injuries in time. It also becomes easier to prove that your injuries resulted from the accident, not a previous medical condition.
Delaying medical treatment can also poke holes in your personal injury claim. Most insurance companies will use this against you, reducing compensation considerably or denying it outright. For the sake of health and legal reasons, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Not Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
Handling a car accident claim on your own is a big mistake. Many people avoid getting a lawyer involved because they are expensive. However, an experienced lawyer can help you get the right amount of compensation. You won’t have to settle for less.
Most car accident attorneys also work on a contingency basis. So, you don’t have to pay unless you win the case or receive a favorable settlement. Once you recover the damages, your lawyer will charge a percentage as their fees. This legal practice allows you to pursue a claim even if you have limited resources.
That said, the insurance company will hire skilled lawyers to help settle for as little as possible. You can’t stand a chance against them unless you hire a seasoned Utah car accident lawyer of your own. So, don’t hesitate to hire one immediately.
Getting in a car accident can be a daunting experience for many. With the adrenaline rushing in and your head probably spinning, you are likely to make mistakes that can cost you big time. It can hurt your chances to recover fair compensation for your injuries and emotional trauma. Should you find yourself in this painful situation, try to steer clear of these seven mistakes.
If you or your loved one has been in a car accident, Carlson Injury Law can help. Our skilled car accident attorneys can prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of your situation.
For details, please schedule a consultation with us today.