1) Not Seek Medical Treatment
Some injuries are not immediately apparent. Adrenaline from an accident can mask an injury that may only be apparent after time. Failing to seek medical treatment at the time of the accident can undermine your legal and insurance claims. Insurers may argue that a delay in treatment could signal the injury was not serious. As a best practice, it would be recommended that a physician conduct an examination following an accident.
2) Fail to Get An Accident Report
Without a police report, an accident claim would turn into he said versus she said. It is important to have a third party accident report prepared by law enforcement which will determine fault, liability, obtain contact information and describe the accident scene among other uses. Although there may be a delay in waiting for law enforcement to arrive at the scene of the accident, it will serve you well in the long run. Without an accident report there will be difficulty in corroborating statements, as a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on would explain.
3) Give a Statement to Insurance
Accidents are stressful. Being under stress impacts everything from your memory to your descriptions or other statements about an accident. This can impair the way in which an insurance company will later approve or deny your claim. There is a reason why insurance companies always ask for a statement as quickly as they can. If any insurance company requests a statement from you, you should not rush to provide it. You can instead simply state that you are not ready to provide a statement at this time and defer it to a later time. There is no rush.
4) Fail to Document Your Accident
After an accident it is important to photograph and note any relevant information. Pictures of damage to vehicles, pictures of the accident scene itself, notes and contact information for any witnesses: these are all vital details which may be lost if not properly documented. Cars can be moved, towed, destroyed, witnesses can leave the scene and this information would be lost. This information may be asked for later by your insurance company and it would be important to have it available.
5) Don’t Apologize
Your words matter! Any statements you make in an emotional state can be used against you when determining fault. Even something as basic as an apology can be construed against you. Apologies can quickly become admissions of liability and you need to be careful and mindful about what you say.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into what you should do after an accident.