There’s no denying that being involved in a car accident is a traumatic and stressful experience. Often, you may not be thinking clearly or know what you should do next. In this guide, you’ll discover several common mistakes you should avoid when you’ve been involved in a car accident.
1: Not Staying at the Scene
One of the worst things you can do is to immediately drive away after an accident. This will make it much more difficult for police, insurance adjusters, and other parties to investigate what happened. If you leave the scene of an accident, it may be considered a hit and run by law enforcement. It may also be considered a hit and run if you hit an unattended vehicle. Even if it’s not safe to stay at the scene, you should do your best to move your car off the roadway and onto the shoulder of the road. This will prevent it from obstructing traffic and creating even more hazards.
2: Not Calling the Police
In most cases, it will be a priority to call the police if there’s been a severe accident. They will be able to determine who was at fault for the accident and make sure that no one leaves the scene before appropriate investigations are made. You should also contact law enforcement if you believe that the accident was caused by a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation. For example, if a vehicle appears to be driving erratically or in an unsafe manner, you’ll want the police to make sure that they don’t cause any more accidents and put people at risk.
3: Hiding Damage
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s important for everyone involved to report their damages. Be careful not to attempt to fix your car or cover up damage because it will likely lead to more complications. For instance, if the parties downplay their damage they’ll have a harder time receiving fair compensation for repairs. Plus, if you fail to report your damages and the other party does, insurance companies often won’t pay out claims that are based on undisclosed damages.
4: Failing to Exchange Information
After a car accident, you should always exchange contact information with the other parties involved. If you don’t, there’s no way to find out how they will pay for their damages. Without this information, insurance companies may not be able to investigate or resolve cases in an efficient manner. In addition to exchanging contact information, you should also get the following pieces of information from the other parties:
- Driver license number
- Insurance policy limits
- Phone numbers of insurance companies
- License plate numbers for all vehicles involved
You should also take pictures and write down your observations of each vehicle and any other relevant details.
5: Failing to Negotiate
Even if you believe that you’re to blame for the accident, it’s important to remain cooperative. If you’re rude or aggressive during negotiations, this will likely make things more difficult in the future. It may also be helpful to get in touch with a car accident lawyer in Antelope Valley, so you know what to expect if negotiations break down.
6: Not Getting a Lawyer
Even if you think that the accident was partially your fault, it’s important to contact an attorney. They can help you take legal action and negotiate with other parties in ways that will be much more beneficial for getting fair compensation from insurance companies or in court.