After a car accident, the way you react to the situation will be crucial, as it can impact your likelihood of receiving a fair settlement after the incident. Some mistakes may harm your long-term health after the incident, while others will impact your ability to get the money you need to pay for medical expenses and other damages caused by the accident.
The aftermath of a car accident can be quite chaotic. Because of this, you may forget what you need to do after such an incident. However, you should also keep in mind that there are many common mistakes to avoid after a car accident so as not to jeopardize your chances of getting a proper settlement or getting anything at all.
After a car wreck, one of the things you should do is consult with a car accident lawyer who has the knowledge and expertise to guide you every step of the way. Los Angeles is home to many excellent auto accident attorneys ready to help you, such as C&B Law Group. This law firm offers completely free consultations, so feel free to contact them if you have any questions about how you should deal with this difficult situation.
Below you will find the 7 most common mistakes people make after a car accident
1. Not calling the police right after the accident
Under no circumstances let the other driver talk you out of calling 911. Some car accident victims think that calling the police is unnecessary when the accident is “minor” or because the car is “still functional”. This is a serious mistake since the role of the police in these types of incidents is crucial. They will gather the available clues to build their report, which usually includes their assessment of who appears to be at fault for the accident. This report can be invaluable during your personal injury claim and can be the difference between recovering the money you need and getting nothing at all.
According to the California Vehicle Code, you have up to 24 hours after an auto accident to report it to the police. So, if you’ve been in an accident and haven’t reported it yet, don’t waste any more time!
2. Leaving the scene
Whether or not you are responsible for a motor vehicle accident, leaving the scene can affect your credibility during your personal injury claim. Everyone involved in a traffic accident has a legal and moral obligation to stay at the scene of the event whenever possible. An exception to this would be if you need to go to the hospital to receive the medical attention you need.
3. Skipping the doctor
Some people dismiss the injuries they sustained after a car accident and decide not to go to the doctor. This is a huge mistake and can have dire consequences for your health, and your personal injury claim.
No matter how minor your injuries are, after a car crash, you must see a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will treat your injuries and document them. You can then use the doctor’s report during your personal injury claim since you can only receive compensation for injuries that have been verified by a physician; it isn’t enough to say that “you were injured”.
4. Admit fault
It is normal to want to make things right as quickly as possible. During the chaos, you may be inclined to say “I’m sorry” to the other driver to make him or her feel better. However, by doing so you would be admitting fault for the accident, and for legal purposes, you would be financially liable.
Therefore, it is best not to accept fault (even accidentally). Let the police conduct the necessary investigation and don’t lie at any time. If you were not responsible for the accident, the truth will likely come out eventually, allowing you to proceed with your personal injury claim.
5. Giving too much information to the insurance company
If the liable party’s insurance company wants to talk to you and asks you to provide a recorded testimony, you should not agree to talk to them. They will try to obtain any piece of information that may benefit their case, with the goal of paying the lowest settlement possible. Don’t fall into their trap, no matter how friendly or polite they may seem.
6. Agreeing to a quick settlement
Another common practice of many insurance companies is to contact victims of car accidents right after the incident, to offer them a quick settlement, and save a few dollars. Accepting a quick settlement will almost always be against your best interests since the first settlement offer will usually not be the best. Taking the time to build a solid case, and working with a car accident attorney near you, will maximize the amount of money you can receive.
7. Not working with an attorney
You may think you can handle your personal injury claim on your own, but this is usually a mistake in most cases. If the accident was very severe, you will probably need legal assistance to navigate through your personal injury claim and increase the chances of getting fair compensation for your case. In Los Angeles, you will find many law firms ready to help you. Most of them offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to contact them to find the perfect lawyer for your case.