Millions of people are injured in car accidents every single year in the United States. Unfortunately, just a small fraction of these individuals get the compensation that they deserve. In many cases, this is a direct result of injured victims not knowing what to do in the aftermath of an accident.
5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Car Accident
Whether it’s a minor accident or a serious collision with life-threatening injuries, there are certain mistakes you want to avoid in the wake of a car accident. Let’s explore a few of them and highlight the proper response.
- Not Getting Immediate Medical Attention
If you have obvious injuries like broken bones, dislocated joints, or blood, nobody has to tell you twice to get medical attention. You intuitively understand the importance of getting the proper care right away. But if your injuries are less obvious, you might be tempted to put it off. However, that’s a huge mistake!
Waiting to get medical attention for several hours or days could create serious complications. First and foremost, it may negatively impact your health. (The adrenaline from the accident could be masking serious injuries.) Secondly, it can dramatically reduce your chances of a successful claim. (The defendant and their insurance company will claim you weren’t actually hurt since you didn’t seek immediate medical care.)
Typically, you’ll want to call an ambulance to the scene. However, if it doesn’t appear to be serious, you can take a trip to a doctor or emergency room immediately afterward. Just make sure you document everything.
- Not Calling the Police
To prevent a situation from becoming bigger than it already is, the other driver might suggest not calling the police. And no matter how genuine they seem in their resolve for simplicity, this is a big mistake you do not want to make.
While it can take time for law enforcement to arrive on the scene, the reporting officer plays a very important role in your case. They’ll create an official report, track down witnesses, take pictures, and even collect evidence. All of this can help you eventually win your claim.
- Saying Too Much at the Scene
When the reporting police officer arrives on the scene, they’re going to ask a bunch of questions. It’s okay to answer some of the basic ones, but be leery of giving out too much information. Try to keep your answers very short and concise. Keep the extra details to yourself.
- Failing to Hire an Attorney
Trying to self-represent yourself in order to save a few bucks is a huge mistake. Not only will you water down your claim and lose a ton of leverage, but you could risk making egregious errors that actually end up allowing the other driver to come after you.
An experienced attorney will dig into the details of your case and help you uncover what really happened. In many cases, something like distracted driving is to blame. A good attorney can spot this from a mile away (and will help you prove your case for maximum payout). Pensacola Personal Injury Attorneys can help you make sense of the details and broad strokes of what to do after an accident.
- Accepting the Insurance Company’s First Offer
The insurance company is not on your side. They care far more about making money than about ensuring you’re safe and healthy. But if you blindly listen to them and trust what they say, you could easily fall victim to their selfish priorities.
“Insurance adjusters know that accident victims are under a lot of stress and vulnerable to their tactics,” The National Law Review mentions. “They tell you that you can trust them, and you might feel tempted to do so. However, trusting what the adjuster says without your own legal representation and counsel can often lead to a much smaller settlement than you deserve.”
It’s also a mistake to accept the first offer the insurance company presents. They purposefully lowball on the initial offer as a way of testing the waters. If you bite, you could potentially leave 60 to 90 percent of the case’s actual value on the table. Consult with your attorney and let them handle the negotiations.
Take Control Over Your Situation
Nobody ever expects to find themselves in a bad car accident. However, sometimes life throws you a curveball you weren’t expecting. Being able to take control of the situation ensures you don’t end up getting victimized twice. Hopefully, this article has given you some sound ideas and strategies to help you come out in the best possible situation on the other side.