Top 5 Mistakes Car Accident Victims Make
Few people plan for getting into accidents or know what to do or not to do once an accident occurs. While you may know that you need to call the police and exchange insurance information, you might not know what else to do or not to do. Below are the top five mistakes car accident victims make. Learn about these mistakes now so that you can avoid making them should you find yourself in a car or truck accident.
- Admitting fault. The legal definition of fault could be quite different than your interpretation. Even if you think the accident could have been your fault, don't admit it. Be careful what you say; as sympathetic as you may feel toward an injured party, saying "I'm sorry" could be construed as admitting guilt. When discussing the matter with the police, answer questions and cooperate, but don't take responsibility for the accident.
- Failing to gather evidence. Don't just ask the other party for his name and phone number, ask to see his driver's license. If you have a digital camera, snap a photo of it as well as write down all of the information. Other information to record include the year, make and model of the other party's vehicle, its license plate number, and its registered owner's contact information from the registration form (the registered owner could be a different person than the driver). In addition, it's smart to document the accident scene with photos, diagrams, and measurements. Include photos of skid marks, if any, current weather conditions, malfunctioning traffic signals, and anything else that could have contributed to the accident.
- Not seeking medical care. You may feel fine or maybe a little sore, but then again, your injuries may not have fully manifested. If your injuries become serious later, they'll be easier to prove if you have medical records that support your claim. Your medical record can help you prove that you were injured as a direct result of the car accident. It cannot help you prove this if it doesn't exist because you failed to seek medical care.
- Settling the insurance claim too early. While you might be impressed at the fast response and the large insurance check, the settlement is likely too low and may require you to waive your rights.
- Failing to see the big picture. Many car accident victims think that their only recourse is to deal with the other party's insurance company and that once the other party's policy limits are reached, that's the end of the story. However, other parties may be to blame for the accident.
Don't make these potentially costly mistakes! If you're involved in an accident, limit what you say, gather evidence, seek medical care, and call a car accident attorney ASAP!