Car wrecks can be stressful and difficult to deal with, especially right after they occur. Sometimes, instead of knowing what you’re supposed to do, you need to know about the things that you should avoid. Some actions you take could hurt your personal injury claim, or be used against you later on.
Fortunately, you don’t have to get in an actual car wreck to learn these secrets. Just keep reading to learn what NOT to do after an accident.
Ignoring Your Safety
Most guides for what to do after an accident focus on what to do long after the accident is over. But what about the things you should do right after the accident happens?
Many who survive a car accident put themselves in greater danger after the accident is over. And that’s because they do things like leaving the damaged car in the middle of the road. Im many states, you are required to move your car out of the way. If you don’t, you could be putting yourself and others at additional risk.
If it appears that either vehicle could be in danger of catching on fire, try to get as far away as possible. If not, take the time to place flares or reflective triangles in the street in order to warn other drivers about the potential hazard.
These steps are pretty basic, but plenty of people overlook them. What’s the point of surviving an automobile accident if you end up getting killed in the middle of the road minutes later?
Not Documenting Damage
After everyone is safe, what should you start doing? We can describe that in two words: document everything.
You’ll want to take multiple pictures from multiple angles that showcase the damage to your car. If there are any witnesses nearby, you’ll want to jot down their contact information in addition to a brief description of what they saw.
If the police are involved, be sure to get the name and number of the police officer and the assigned number of the police report. And don’t forget to exchange your name, contact information, and insurance information with the other driver.
Finally, write down as many details as you can remember about the accident. It’s important to do this immediately, while everything is relatively fresh in your mind.
It’s easy to skip one or more of these steps, especially if you’re flustered after an accident. However, these steps can be highly advantageous as you manage the results of the accident, especially if you end up filing a claim.
Avoiding the Doctor
If you’re lucky, you may feel fine after a car accident. However, it’s very important that you visit your doctor as soon as possible.
One of the reasons many car accident survivors feel fine after an accident is due to the fact that they are filled with adrenaline. While this can be a positive feeling, it also means that you might not immediately notice any major injuries.
It’s often a mistake to simply wait until you notice any aches and pains, which might take days or even weeks to be noticeable. The longer you wait for diagnosis and treatment, the worse your body will be, and the harder it will be for an attorney to correlate your injuries with the wreck.
By visiting the doctor as soon as possible, you can detect all of your injuries and keep them from getting worse. If you need to eventually establish how much you were injured by the car wreck, nothing is more persuasive than your medical records.
Ditching Your Receipts
After you visit the doctor, it’s important to hold onto all the receipts. This is part of the paper trail you are creating to further document your injuries, your treatment, and your medical costs.
Regarding medical costs, it’s simple enough to hold onto all of your medical bills. And regarding your diagnosis and injuries, make sure to get your own copies of all relevant paperwork from your doctor.
These steps are very easy, especially since you need to visit the doctor anyway. But without this paperwork in hand, you can actually jeopardize your odds if this should turn into a legal battle.
Not Doing Insurance Homework
Even if everything is settled amicably and quickly, your car accident is going to offer you lots of experience when it comes to working with your insurance company. That’s why it’s so important to do all of your insurance homework.
For example, if the other person is at fault, your vehicle damages would be covered by the other driver’s property damage coverage and your medical bills would be covered by their bodily injury liability coverage.
Meanwhile, the other driver’s vehicle damage should be covered by their collision coverage. All of this, of course, is assuming that you file a claim, though some drivers are wary of the process.
To File or Not to File
The prospect of all that paperwork and all those insurance company phone calls and e-mails can be pretty intimidating. That’s why many drivers are more tempted to work things out between one another rather than getting insurance companies involved.
Generally speaking, we recommend filing a claim. Car repairs are always more expensive than you’re expecting, and the other party could offer too little or balk at the bill. This happens far too often, and can cause even more problems that are difficult to handle.
When you file a claim, the insurance company will try to determine who was at fault. That’s where all of your documentation and photos come in: to help you prove your case. But it’s also in your best interest to hire a professional lawyer before you make your claim.
A good law firm understands the process and the paperwork and can help you get everything “just right.” Even better, they can help you get the settlement that you deserve in compensation for your pain, suffering, and lost wages.
After An Accident: Who To Call
Now you know more about what to do – and what not to do – after an accident. But do you know who to call to help file your claim and represent your needs?
We specialize in personal injury cases and fighting for your rights. To see how we can help you get what you deserve, contact us today!