Most drivers aren’t involved in several accidents during their years on the road. So, when an accident happens, most drivers are flustered, disoriented and unsure of what to do. Yet, what drivers do after an accident is important. You easily can make mistakes that will impact your insurance claim.
Here are five important mistakes you want to avoid the next time you are in an accident:
- Admit partial fault for the accident. Even if the other driver is 90% at fault and you feel you are only 10% at fault. Virginia is one of the few jurisdictions left with contributory negligence. Contributory negligence means that if the insurance company can prove that you are even slightly responsible for the accident, then you can’t recover for damage to your vehicle or for injuries sustained. People who are injured or flustered due to an accident often make silly statements because they do not think before they speak.
- Not report the accident to police or your insurance company. You may think you want to avoid reporting the accident to police and your insurance company. Maybe the other driver offers you cash to compensate for any damage your car sustained. However, if you suffered an injury or your car has damage you don’t notice right away, you want to have a police report and notify your insurance company. In many situations, drivers will admit fault at the scene of the accident, but then deny that they ever admitted fault. If a police officer is present and documents these statements, it makes it more difficult for the at fault driver to get away with changing their story. If you do not report the accident to your insurance company or the defendant’s insurance company then they may deny coverage for failing to report the accident.
- Not get the other driver’s contact information and insurance information. You will need information about the other driver for your insurance claim. Smart phones all have cameras so you can take a picture of a driver’s license or plate.
- Not write down everything you can remember about the accident and take photos of the accident scene. You want to have all the information you can remember and photos as evidence of what happened.
- Not seek medical attention for your injuries. You might think you are fine after your accident. You only received a few cuts, scrapes and bruises. However, the next day, you could have a headache that won’t go away or feel terrible pain in your back. You need to seek medical treatment for your injuries after a crash, even if symptoms surface later. You need to have documentation of how serious your injuries are for your personal injury claim.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can avoid having a car accident upend your life more than it already has. You can ensure you’ve done what you can to document the accident fairly and receive the insurance company compensation you need to fix or replace your vehicle and cover your injury costs.