Fatal car crashes have become increasingly common in Utah, claiming 130 lives between January 1st and June 15th, 2021. Given these circumstances, you can never be too careful on the road.
Deadly or not, most car accidents are harrowing. You may be seriously traumatized, injured, or unable to speak. However, the moments following a vehicle crash are crucial to your insurance claim. One wrong move, and you’ll never receive the payout you deserve.
Making certain mistakes post-accident can instantly put you at a legal disadvantage. Hence, it’s vital to know what they are and how to sidestep them effectively.
6 Mistakes to Avoid After Car Crash
Don’t let a rash decision ruin your shot at fair compensation. Here are the six mistakes that you should avoid after a car crash.
1. Leaving the Scene
You must know that hit-and-run cases are heavily frowned upon in most states. Not only are they morally wrong, but they also have legal consequences, including stiff fines and imprisonment.
On the other hand, victims who leave the accident site risk jeopardizing their compensation claim. Insurers are less likely to believe you need help with medical expenses if you walk away from the scene.
It’s best to remain at the accident site and wait for police officers to arrive. However, you can step out of your vehicle to see if anyone needs assistance.
2. Forgetting to Call 911
In case you or your loved one is involved in a crash, do not forget to call 911. This is the quickest way to report the accident and get emergency help on the way.
There are several good reasons for this. For starters, injuries sustained in a car accident may not manifest right away. Common internal wounds include:
- Brain bleeds and concussions
- Broken ribs
- Punctured lung
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
So, if you’re unsure whether someone’s injuries are serious, but they appear to be dizzy, concussed, or drifting in and out of consciousness, play it safe and send for medical services. Getting the paramedics involved in time can save you and your loved ones a world of pain down the line.
3. Not Getting in Touch with the Police
Utah law requires drivers involved in a car accident to contact the nearest law enforcement agency immediately after an accident. The police can help establish fault, investigate the scene, survey road conditions, interview witnesses, and lodge a report describing the incidents in detail.
This report can become a vital component in any lawsuit resulting from the crash. Your car accident lawyer may also use the recorded specifics to strengthen your personal injury claim.
4. Admitting Fault
After the accident, you will be questioned by the police and insurance company. No matter who you’re talking to, never take responsibility.
Car accidents are disorienting, to say the least. Your nerves may be at an all-time high, causing you to apologize impulsively. However, if the investigation later reveals that the other driver was to blame, your admission of fault can make it much harder to get the money you’re entitled to.
A few statements to avoid include:
- Apologies of any kind
- Saying that you looked away from the road briefly
- Saying that you didn’t see the other car coming
Although seemingly innocent, these comments can get you in trouble with the insurance company. Remain silent until there is more evidence in your favor. And, in case you need help on how to answer questions without accidentally admitting fault, you can always talk to a reputable car accident attorney.
5. Not Gathering Evidence
Failing to act quickly is one of the most damning mistakes people make after a motor accident. Remember, police may clear the scene quickly to normalize traffic, so you only have a small window to collect evidence.
While waiting for the police to arrive, take the time to compile as much information as possible. For this, you can:
- Ask witnesses for their statements, name, and contact information. Do this while the incident is still fresh in their memory.
- Collect the other driver’s insurance and contact information. You’ll also need numbers from their plate and driver’s license.
- Get a copy of the accident report as well as the badge number of the officer who filed it.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to record the damage to your car, the other car(s), and the position each vehicle was in.
Again, this information plays a crucial role in refining your accident claim. If you’re too weak or injured to act yourself, a reputable car accident attorney will take on the job for you.
6. Agreeing to a Lowball Offer
Insurance companies may not always act in your best interests. Their goal is to spend as little time and money on your claim as possible. To achieve this, they may try to stick you with a lowball settlement and brush their hands off the matter.
But it’s worth mentioning that car accidents often put victims under great financial stress. With the rising healthcare costs in the US, you may be facing steep medical bills. This, combined with a possible loss of income from missed work, can send your finances for a toss.
You need the appropriate settlement payout to get back on your feet. In case you’re unsure about how much you can recover from your claim, consider consulting a car accident attorney. A lawyer will tally up your damages and provide you with a rough estimate. Remember to not settle for anything less.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying that automobile accidents are a traumatizing affair. You may be seriously injured or not thinking clearly. But it’s crucial to remain calm and take proper steps to ensure a fair settlement. Try your best to avoid making these mistakes and call an attorney without delay.
The car accident lawyers at Henriksen & Henriksen have been in the business for years. Our talented legal team has a wealth of experience handling accident and personal injury claims. Besides being knowledgeable, we’re passionate about fighting for our clients and helping them seek justice. For more information, get in touch with us today!