When an accident occurs, most of the time it’s a surprise and comes out of nowhere. You can often be in shock when dealing with the immediate aftermath of an accident. It’s impossible to really prepare for the affects an accident will have, which may cause you to forget important steps in gathering information for making a claim. When you fail to gather all the pertinent information, it could hurt your chances of being fairly compensated. Here are some common mistakes people make after being in a car accident:
1. Not calling the police
Having your accident documented and on record can be very helpful when going through the claims process. This gives the insurance companies a detailed, unbiased account of how the accident occurred, any damage done to the vehicles and if anyone sustained an injury.
If anyone is injured in the accident, call the police immediately. Even if you think it’s a small scale injury, it should be documented as soon as the accident takes place.
Call the police right away if the other party involved flees the scene of the accident (also known as a hit-and-run). Do your best to gather the most information about the car and driver as possible (i.e. make, model and color of the car, license plate number, description on the driver).
The police should also be called if you are involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance or isn’t carrying their insurance information with them. Even if the non-insurance driver assures you that they will get you the information once they get home, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
2. Not exchanging insurance information
This might be one of the biggest mistakes you could make after an accident. Do not leave the scene of the accident without exchanging insurance information. Even if it appears that no external damage was done, there could be internal damage that you cannot see.
- Phone number
- License number (helpful to take a picture of their license)
- License plate number
- Insurance information (take a picture of this as well)
- Make, model and color of other driver’s vehicle
3. Not taking pictures
Always take pictures of both vehicles immediately following the accident. This is the best way to prove the exact condition both vehicles are in as a result of the accident. You also want to protect yourself from being blamed or forced to pay for damage that occurred outside of the accident. What if they were in another accident after yours happened? Avoid an awkward situation by getting photos of everything.
4. Not receiving medical care
If you are injured in an accident, go see a doctor right away. Injuries need to be documented as soon as possible for any potential compensation. Insurance companies are going to require medical documentation of any injuries sustained in an accident; they will not compensate you based on your word.