4 Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto Accident
You've gotten yourself into an accident. Regardless of the circumstances - whether or not you're at fault - no one wants to get into a traffic jam. To make matters even more complicated, most folks have no idea how to react once they've found themselves in this situation.
Thankfully, there's a few common pitfalls you can avoid that will save you time, money, and even legal trouble. Below, we've rounded up four of the most common mistakes that make a bad day even worse.
Mistake One: Not Contacting the Police
Whether it's a minor fender-bender or someone is seriously injured, it's always a good idea to contact the police. In a serious incident, first responders can address injuries and any property damage.
Moreover, responders can file a police report that helps set the facts straight away. Police officers will collect the relevant details and contact information of all parties involved.
If you're at fault, this can help protect you against paying more damages than you owe. If the accident is severe enough to cause injury, you may liable if you neglect to notify the police.
Mistake Two: Admitting Fault Prematurely
When you don't have all the facts, don't admit fault. As soon as you admit fault, you and your insurance company could be liable for damages to the other party's body, vehicle, or property.
Even benign statements like "I'm sorry" can demonstrate fault and may be documented by first responders. To avoid outright admitting fault, only tell the objective facts to the officers without any embellishment. Try to use as few words as possible and only provide clarification when prompted.
Mistake Three: Leaving the Scene Too Soon
Stop! Have you taken photos yet? Have you gotten the other party's contact and insurance information?
If you haven't, you don't have near enough information to comfortably leave the scene of the incident. You should take pictures of any damage to both parties' vehicles, property damage, and insurance information.
Producing your own documentation can save you from legal squabbles and discrepancies down the road.
When in doubt, you should at least gather the following information before heading home:
- The other driver's insurance and contact information
- Pictures of damage to either parties' vehicle, property, and body
- Copies of the police report
Mistake Four: Not Contacting an Attorney
While a personal injury attorney isn't typically required for the most minor incidents, they can be invaluable in cases where significant bodily injury or property damage has occurred.
Finding a personal injury lawyer can help you interface with the other party's insurance agency and minimize personal responsibility. If you've been injured, a personal injury attorney can help you file a lawsuit for any damages.
The right attorney, used in the right case, can ultimately minimize liability and maximize return after a car accident.
If you can avoid a few of these pitfalls, you'll be well on your way to minimizing legal trouble and costly financial set-backs as the result of an accident.
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