The moments after a crash can be chaotic, but you should try to avoid some of the most common mistakes after a car accident. Failing to get immediate medical attention and failing to notify local police, for instance, can damage your potential to seek compensation. You can take several important actions—and avoid others—to protect yourself and ensure you establish a solid case to present to the insurance companies.
Common Mistakes After a Car Accident That You Can Avoid
Making these common mistakes after a car accident can mean the difference between receiving compensation and not receiving anything. Avoid some of these common mistakes:
- Leaving the scene before the police arrive
- Not calling police
- Forgetting to collect the other party’s insurance information
- Failing to get medical treatment for your injuries
- Not notifying your insurance company of the crash
- Admitting fault
- Not taking pictures at the scene
- Posting on social media
- Giving a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company
- Accepting the first settlement offer
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What You Should do After a Car Crash
Following these simple tips described below will keep you in better shape after an accident.
Don’t Leave the Scene
Even in minor accidents, leaving the scene of an accident is not recommended. Always stop to check the damage and exchange information with the other driver. Then, notify law enforcement. This creates a record of the crash, and you may need it later on if you develop any injuries or notice any additional vehicle damage.
Notify Police or Local Law Enforcement Personnel
Always call local law enforcement. Depending on the accident’s severity, they may make recommendations to exchange information and may not respond to the scene.
Ohio Revised Code Section 5502.11 requires that all accidents with more than $1,000 in property damage, personal injury, or a fatality be reported to local police.
Don’t Forget to Collect the Other Driver’s Insurance Information
After an accident, most people feel a bit frazzled. Many people forget to collect the necessary information from the other driver, which can make filing a damage claim more difficult. You should collect the following information from the driver:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance company, policy number, and phone number
For witnesses and passengers, you should also attempt to obtain at least their names and a contact phone number.
Don’t Skip Medical Treatment
Not all accidents will require emergency medical personnel to respond to the scene. If they respond, allow them to check you for injuries, even if you don’t think you are hurt. In cases where there is no emergency response at the scene, you should go to the emergency room when you can.
If medical personnel recommend the ambulance ride, take it. Medical teams dispatched to the accident scene are well-versed in assessing injuries from accidents.
Some crash-related injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and whiplash, are not apparent at the scene. These injuries can appear a few days after the accident and significantly impact your life.
Contact Your Insurance Company
No matter how minor an accident, always contact your insurance to give them a courtesy notification. You may have no damage to your vehicle and not plan on filing a claim. However, the other driver may try to file a claim against your policy.
Don’t Lose Accident Documents
When you have an accident, you will collect a lot of paperwork. It is vitally important to keep all your documents until the details of the accident are resolved. Keeping everything in a single file will allow you to easily keep track of your documents.
Never Admit Fault
You should never admit any part of the fault in causing an accident. Avoid apologizing to the other driver, posting on social media, or any other communication that may be an admission of guilt.
Take Pictures at the Scene
If you have a cell phone and are physically able, take pictures at the scene. Try to get the damage to all vehicles, any property, the configuration of the intersection, and any injuries.
Don’t Post Information on Social Media
We document our lives on social media, from the births of our children to the meal we put on the table last night. It can be very tempting to post about an accident, too, but posting a simple “I’m okay” statement can be bad news for an accident claim. An insurance company can use that declaration to deny your claim for damages.
Don’t Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
The other driver’s insurance company may attempt to contact you to talk you into admitting fault or taking a quick settlement. It is best not to speak with them beyond acknowledging that they have the correct contact information for you.
It’s Tempting, But don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are notorious for making a low initial settlement offer to get you to sign away any right to additional compensation. It may be tempting. You have bills from the accident, need to repair or replace your vehicle, and may be desperate to get the accident behind you.
Don’t let desperation speak on your behalf.
Avoid Mistakes With a Car Accident Attorney’s Help
At Bressman Law, our car accident team has a track record of helping our clients get the compensation they deserve. Contact our team today. Discuss your accident, and let us help you go after the best possible financial recovery available.