Whether it was a fender-bender or a more serious crash, car accidents can be traumatic. And because they happen so quickly, it can often be difficult for you to get your bearings and assess the situation calmly.
However, as stressed as you might be in the moment, there are several mistakes that you should take care to avoid. Making them can hurt your chances of receiving fair compensation for your damages.
Leaving the police out of it
Whether you’re afraid of getting into trouble or you just don’t want to cause any more of a scene, not calling the police can actually make the situation more difficult for you.
When you notify the police of your accident, they will collect the details of your crash from a third-party point of view, which might later give you evidence you need to support your claim.
Police officers can also help move vehicles out of the road, call for medical service and issue a traffic ticket to the other driver if necessary.
Saying “I’m sorry”
Washington is not a no-fault state, which means that whoever is found to be at fault for the accident will be responsible for compensating the other driver. Saying “I’m sorry” at the scene of an accident can be seen as an admission of guilt by some. So, even if you did not cause the accident, apologizing for the crash might serve as evidence against you.
Forgetting to collect evidence
Car accidents can be overwhelming. But if your injuries don’t demand immediate medical attention, it’s crucial that you retain enough focus to start collecting evidence at the scene of your crash. This includes taking photographs of the damages and the surrounding area and asking for eyewitness testimonies.
It’s also important to continue this collection after the accident as well. You can access a copy of the police report, and don’t forget to save copies of any medical bills or other accident-related expenses.
Refusing medical attention
Some car accident injuries have delayed symptoms and take hours — even days — to show up. If you don’t seek medical attention as soon as possible, it can be harder to prove that any delayed injury was a direct result of your accident. You may have a harder time seeking compensation for any medical costs if you don’t see a doctor right after the crash.
A car accident can be life-changing
Making even one simple mistake after an accident can have a significant impact on your ability to recover damages. By being attentive and thorough, you can build a strong claim and pursue the compensation you need to protect yourself and your future.