Common Mistakes You Can Make After a Car Accident

Date: February 27, 2024

What you do in the days after a car accident is critical to your legal case and your health. Here are common mistakes to avoid after a car accident.

1. Failing to Check for Injuries

One of the most crucial errors following a car accident is overlooking the need to check for injuries. Shock and adrenaline can obscure pain and discomfort, underscoring the importance of evaluating your condition and passengers.

If anyone exhibits signs of injury, promptly dial 911. Even if injuries seem minor, seeking medical assistance is advisable. Certain injuries, such as whiplash or internal trauma, may not present symptoms until hours or days later.

2. Not Calling the Police

Always call the police and report the accident and any injuries. In New Jersey, depending on the extent of damage, not reporting an accident can result in fines and other legal consequences. Cooperate with officers on the scene, provide accurate and truthful information, and do not admit fault. An official police report is an essential element of insurance claims and legal evidence.

3. Failing to Gather Evidence

Not gathering sufficient evidence at the time of the accident is another common mistake. Photograph the scene, vehicle damage, signage, signals, road and weather conditions, and any other relevant factors contributing to the accident. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information and a statement of what they saw. Witness testimony is especially useful, both for your claim and in court.

4. Admitting You Are At Fault

Minimize conversation and do not admit fault while at the scene. Determining fault is more complex than you may think and should be left to legal authorities and insurance companies. Do not argue or fight with the other driver; provide only factual information to the responding officers and the insurance company. What you say at the scene can be used against you later, harming your case.

5. Failing to Exchange Information

Failing to exchange information is another common mistake. Exchange your contact, insurance information, and license plate number with the other driver. Doing so helps expedite the claims process and can resolve any potential disputes.

6. Neglecting to Get Medical Attention

Always seek medical attention following an accident, even if you believe you are uninjured or have minor injuries. Certain injuries have delayed symptoms, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. The medical report is also crucial to your insurance claim and any subsequent legal claims. Without one, your claim will likely be denied.

7. Not Reporting the Accident to the Insurance Company

Following the accident, notify your insurance company as soon as possible, regardless of who you believe is responsible. Typically, insurance policies require prompt accident reporting and may deny your claim if you fail to do so. When speaking with them, be honest and accurate about the details of the accident.

8. Quickly Accepting a Settlement

Never agree to any settlement or even sign anything without knowing the value of your case. The insurance company knows exactly how much you should get because they have an army of adjusters and sophisticated computer programs. An attorney can review your case and tell you how much you should seek in an insurance claim or lawsuit.

9. Not Getting Immediate Legal Advice

If you wait too long to hire an attorney, it can compromise your legal case. A delay in beginning an investigation of your car accident can lead to losing the evidence you need to prove your case. Getting an attorney early is the best way to maximize your financial compensation.

10. Posting About Your Accident on Social Media

You should also not post publicly about your accident. Many people are tempted to post on social media because they want support from their family and friends. You should always assume the insurance company can access everything you say.

Contact a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC for Legal Help Following a Crash

A New Jersey car accident lawyer at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC will work hard when you have been injured in a crash. We know how the legal process works and how to use that to your advantage. To schedule a free consultation, call 732-920-8383 or contact us online. We have offices in Manasquan and Brick, New Jersey, and we serve clients in Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.