Car crashes are unexpected, disorienting, and potentially very damaging and lethal. In the heat of the moment, it's easy to panic about what you should do after an accident. The more you understand why you should and shouldn't do certain things after a car accident, the more rationally you will be able to handle that situation if it comes up.
Below are four big mistakes that people make after a car accident.
Mistake #1: "We don't need to get the police involved."
You may think the crash is too minor to warrant a 911 call or you may be nervous about getting the police involved for various reasons, such as if you think you were at fault for the crash. However, you should always call 911 after an accident. Especially if the crash caused any injuries, you need an ambulance for immediate response and medical attention. It is also very important to have police officers inspect the scene and write a report with any information about the crash that is available, including witness accounts of those who may have seen the crash. Without a report, it will be challenging to file any sort of claim to get compensation for damages and injury you sustained.
Mistake #2: "We don't need to exchange insurance information."
No matter how minor an accident seems, always exchange insurance information with the other driver. Even small damages may be insured, or you may not realize the scope of the damages at first and will need that insurance info later. If you don't exchange this information, it could be very difficult to have the costs of the accident covered.
If the other driver is not insured, you may be covered under Uninsured Motorist Coverage by your own insurance plan, or you may need to file a claim against your own insurance company for the damages. Contact an attorney before you speak to any insurance company. They can answer any questions you have and help you understand how to get proper compensation after a crash.
Mistake #3: "I don't need to see a doctor."
If a crash causes significant or severe injury, an ambulance can transport you to a hospital right away. Some people may not seek medical help for minor injuries though, or they may not believe they were damaged at all during the accident.
Either way, go to a doctor for examination after a car crash. You may feel physically sound after an accident, but sometimes damage and strain on the body from these crashes doesn't show up until a couple days after the crash happened. Seeking medical help right away can ensure that your injuries are cared for, and the doctor's report of your injuries can be crucial later during an injury claim.
Mistake #4: "I'm sorry."
This one may seem less intuitive than the others. If a car accident happens, it's natural for many people to want to smooth things over with the other driver and keep relations positive. Having a civil discussion with them rather than an angry outburst is a wise way to approach the situation, but never apologize. Apologizing means you are claiming fault for what happened, which could be used against you later. Check if the other driver is ok, assess damages and talk about what to do next, but do not apologize to them even if you believe you had fault in the crash.