Car accidents are some of the most distressing events we have to deal with in our daily lives, and many times we want to put the incident behind us as fast as possible and move on. Unfortunately, trying to avoid the stress and bother of this upsetting situation can really hurt you in the long run if you forget to take some specific steps following your accident.
By neglecting to record the official details of your accident with the proper authorities, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to greater expense and injury in the future. Below are six costly mistakes the majority of us make when involved in an automobile accident, and the various reasons why you should really follow through with these important steps.
Avoiding Police Involvement
Often times, those involved in a minor accident might want to save time and avoid the hassle of police involvement, but what you’re actually doing is setting yourself up what could be a very messy legal situation.
A police report is an official statement of what actually occurred during the accident, and having one protects you from false claims and trumped up witness reports.
Leaving the Scene without Exchanging Insurance Information
Again, it might seem like a waste of time to collect insurance, vehicle, and license information from the other driver, particularly if it appears little harm was done to your car, but making sure you have all of this written down is critical in case injuries or major internal damage develops later on.
Many medical conditions caused by impact are not apparent until several hours after the accident, and you don’t want to leave yourself with no way of contacting the other driver should this occur.
Forgetting to Document the Damage
With all the other trauma of your car accident, it’s easy to forget to take pictures of the damage done to both vehicles and the general area in which the accident took place.
Also, it’s a good idea to get the names and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident, and who could provide an objective view of the events as they occurred.
Neglecting to See a Doctor
If you develop serious injuries from your accident and need to pursue litigation, it’s crucial that you prove your injuries were sustained in the accident and not from something else.
This becomes more and more difficult the longer you wait to see a doctor. Many injuries worsen significantly over time, so seeing a doctor as soon as possible after your accident can also help avoid some unnecessary discomfort.
Failing to Pursue Damages
Most people are easily led astray by insurance companies that won’t volunteer to cover specific damages that were legitimately caused by the other driver.
It’s important to understand that you can seek compensation for more than just the physical damage to your car and any medical bills that might have accrued, but that you also have the right to pursue lost wages and damages for pain and suffering.
Missing Your Opportunity to File
The amount of time you have to file a claim varies from state to state, and many people wait too long to pursue damages because they are involved in rehabilitation or recovery. It’s critical that you file a claim as soon as possible to make certain you receive the compensation you’re owed for your accident.
We all know the trauma of being involved in an auto accident, and the impulse to leave the scene and find consolation in a familiar face or environment is all too common in these instances.
Many times the damage to your car or the other driver’s vehicle seems so minimal you think filing an official report would be a waste of time and resources, but what you might be failing to consider is the precarious position that leaves you in should further litigation become necessary.
Gathering all the information you need from the other driver, collecting an official police report, and documenting the accident and physical condition of your car and person directly following the event will afford you the evidence you need to prove your innocence and pursue damages in court.
These small steps taken directly after an auto accident are indispensable and can end up saving you time and money in years to come.