The moments directly following a car accident are sure to be filled with stress. Even a minor accident can be enough to leave drivers out of sorts and in a vulnerable position where it is all too easy to make poor decisions. With that in mind, here are a few common mistakes that can be avoided after a car accident:
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- Not Exchanging Information or Calling Police
While some parking lot fender benders may not require a police report, it is always a good idea to document an accident. If both parties agree that calling the police to file a report on scene isn’t necessary, be sure to exchange information. There isn’t a car accident attorney in Chicago who hasn’t handled a case where the defendant provided false information to try and avoid legal repercussions. Gathering information at the outset is the absolute best way to ensure that everyone is legally protected.
- Failing to Seek Medical Attention
While everyone might appear and feel fine directly after an accident, there can be real and lasting injuries that can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. Elevated adrenaline levels can mask pain that may be indicative of serious medical problems. The best course of action after an accident is to be overly cautious. Seeking medical attention will help avoid future medical complications and provide important documentation in case there are serious problems at play.
- Claiming Responsibility or Starting a Confrontation
After an accident, people tend to react one of two ways: either they are angry at the other driver or they immediately claim responsibility and start apologizing for their role in causing the accident. Both reactions are less than helpful. Any accident is sure to leave emotions running high, but it is important to remember that there are potential legal ramifications for any actions. The last thing anyone wants is for an accident to be compounded by assault charges. Allow police officers to mediate any tensions and decide who is at fault based on testimony and their knowledge of road rules and regulations.
- Posting Information on Social Media Sites
Not every life event, including a car accident, makes good fodder for social media. Anything that is posted online is admissible in court. Oversharing on social media is increasingly playing a role in litigation and the solution is simple: avoid sharing information and opinions about the accident and the other party involved. Again, let authorities handle the situation.
- Forgetting to Take Pictures
In the age of camera phones, there should be little left to the imagination when it comes to the weather conditions on the day of the accident, the location and extent of any damage or the exact location of the accident. For anyone involved in an accident documentation is a vital tool and a pictures says a thousand words. Taking a few photos can instantly solve any disputes and provide concrete answers where human memory may start distorting the actual events.
- Failing to Notify Your Insurance
The best defense is an offense. People have a tendency to want to move on with their lives as quickly as possible after an accident, but a few phone calls can help avoid costly legal nightmares down the road. Often times people also avoid calling the insurance company because they are convinced that their rates will go up; however, that is not always the case.Any insurance company is there to be a consumer advocate and not simply make money off the bad luck of drivers. Working with the insurance company to file claims and dispute claims from other drivers can actually save time and money. Using the insurance company as a mediator may also allow accident victims to avoid more formal litigation procedures.
- Not Calling an Attorney
There are several lines of defense before automobile accident victims should have to call an attorney, but if all of these have been exhausted, an attorney can be another valuable tool. For novices, the legal system can be a real labyrinth to navigate. Even filing basic paperwork can feel like trying to tackle a maze. That is exactly why personal injury attorneys exist: to act as advocates for victims so that they can get justice and be fairly compensated for any medical and repair expenses associated with the accident. Consumers and accident victims should not hesitate to ask for help, especially in stressful situations.
As with most things in life, being prepared makes all the difference, even when it comes to being involved in a car accident. Taking the time to learn basic driver’s rights and knowing what to do after being involved in an accident can make all the difference in the world. If nothing else, remember to document as much as possible. Information is the biggest weapon in solving any accident dispute whether the accident goes to court or not.