Mistakes to Avoid Making After a Car Accident

Getting into a car accident can be a nerve-wracking experience, and it’s not uncommon for people to feel disoriented and overwhelmed afterward. However, it’s essential to know what to do after a car crash and avoid making mistakes that can cost you more money, time, and peace of mind. Unfortunately, many drivers make mistakes in the aftermath of a collision that can have serious consequences.

Unfortunately, many drivers make mistakes in the aftermath of a collision that can have serious consequences.

By reading up on the common mistakes made after car accidents, you can better prepare yourself for how to react if you find yourself in this situation. Taking the time to educate yourself now may help you avoid some of the most common mistakes and make a difficult situation a bit easier to navigate.

1. Being Uncooperative

After a car accident, emotions are running high and the urge to place blame can be strong. However, making accusations and arguing with other drivers or passengers is usually counter-productive. The best course of action is to remain calm and approach the situation in a business-like manner.

When police or other emergency responders arrive, it’s important to give them your full cooperation. Stick to the facts and answer their questions truthfully, avoiding opinions and speculations. By doing so, you can help the aftermath of the accident go smoother.

2. Not Calling the Police

Another mistake is not calling the police. It’s important to notify the police if an accident occurs and there is potential for an insurance claim. Even though the responding officer’s report isn’t absolute proof, it does lay a foundation for any future legal proceedings or insurance claims.

When the police aren’t notified, establishing liability becomes a much harder challenge. Ultimately, involving law enforcement can help streamline the claims process and provide a clearer picture of what happened during the accident.

3. Forgetting to Document the Accident

n the aftermath of a car accident, it can be easy to forget to use your cell phone camera to document the scene. With virtually all modern cell phones now equipped with camera features, taking pictures and videos of the sceneimmediately after an accident can provide valuable details that may be overlooked later.

Examples of what to document at the scene include:

  • The accident from all angles
  • Your injuries
  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Evidence such as skid marks, shattered glass, vehicle parts, etc.

While insurance adjusters and investigators can take pictures of the damage to your vehicle at a later time, capturing the scene at the moment can be critical in determining the cause of the accident, documenting injuries, and painting a full picture of what happened.

4. Declining Medical Care

After an accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured. Sometimes, injuries take hours, if not days, to become apparent. For example, common car accident injuries such as whiplash and traumatic brain injury (TBI) can take days to weeks before symptoms begin to surface.

Therefore, seeing a medical professional immediately could prevent future pain or problems. Additionally, if legal action is necessary in the future, your examination record could be valuable evidence.

5. Apologizing or Admitting Fault

In the aftermath of a car accident, it may be tempting to apologize to the other driver for any role you think you may have played in causing the crash. However, it is essential to avoid doing so until all the facts are established and liability has been determined. Admitting fault prematurely could lead to potentially serious legal ramifications and may be used against you by insurance companies later.

While it’s important not to lie to the police about what happened, apologizing to the other driver creates a record of that apology, which an insurance company can use against you. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid apologizing until liability is established, and you can speak confidently about the events leading up to the accident.

6. Accepting Cash Payment

When involved in a collision, the urge to quickly resolve the situation and move on is normal. It’s not uncommon for the other driver to offer cash on the spot to cover damages, and the temptation to accept may be strong. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the extent of the damages may not be immediately apparent, and injuries may not manifest until later.

Accepting cash without involving the police or insurance could result in a situation where the cash you receive is not enough to cover your damages, leaving you with a financial burden. It’s always best to be on the side of caution and contact the appropriate authorities to ensure that everything is properly documented.

7. Waiting Too Long to File Your Case

If you’ve been in an auto accident in Georgia, it’s important to know the statute of limitations for filing a claim. Georgia Code § 9-3-31 states that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for injuries and damages. Keep in mind that time can fly by quickly if your case is complicated or if insurance companies are attempting to string you along until it’s too late. Missing the deadline means losing your opportunity to recover forever. It’s best to prioritize starting the case soon, even if you’re still recovering from your injuries.

8. Not Working with a Car Accident Lawyer

If you are involved in an auto accident, it is likely that insurance companies will push you to accept a quick settlement. Unfortunately, these settlements are usually inadequate and fall short of providing victims with the means to rebuild their lives. It is important to note that you have the legal right to compensation for damages that can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • And more

Our team of experienced car accident attorneys at Reed Leeper, P.C. can help you identify the damages you are entitled to and work with you step by step to help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

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