Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
Although we’d all like to believe we’re excellent drivers,the statistics don’t lie. The US Centers for Disease Control and Preventionreported in 2013 that nearly 90 motorists died every day on roadsthroughout the nation. The situation worsened in 2016, when the National SafetyCouncil reported that approximately 40,000 motorists were killed in trafficcollisions–making it the deadliest driving year in over a decade. And whilethe situation has improved slightly since then, with a meager 1 percent decrease in driving fatalities during 2017, the harsh reality is that too many motorists are being seriouslyinjured on our streets.
The chances are good that you’ll be involved in an accidentat some point during your life. That’s especially true in the state ofCalifornia, where traffic fatalities increased by 7 percent from2015 to 2016. When a crash occurs, it’s extremely difficult to thinkrationally. Your adrenaline and intuition tend to take over. That makes it easyto make a mistake that could impact your future. But if you’re aware of thecommon missteps to which drivers are prone, you may be able to avoid thepitfalls and protect yourself more adequately.
Mistake: Not seeking medical attention
In the immediate aftermath of an incident, you may believeyou’ve escaped unscathed. Many injuries don’t make themselves known until wellafter the fact. You may also choose to delay treatment due to the costsinvolved. But the decision to downplay your injuries can have majorconsequences for your health and for your legal case.
The longer you wait to receive medical care, the moredifficult it may be to treat the injuries you’ve sustained. Your healingprocess could be made that much harder as a result. Delaying treatment can alsomake your insurance company more likely to deny your claim or for your San Francisco car accident lawyer to argueyour case in court.
The shock of an accident can make you think that you don’t need medical treatment or that you can’t possibly afford it. But you should always get checked out by medical personnel and ensure that any injuries are well-documented from the start. That’s the best way to protect yourself physically and financially.
Mistake: Apologizing to another driver
If you’re known as a responsible or caring person, your first instinct after a crash may be to run over to the other driver and apologize. Resist this temptation at all costs. Your expression of sympathy can easily be misconstrued as admitting fault. That can have serious legal consequences down the line.
You can, of course, inquire as to whether the other driver is alright and whether they need medical assistance. But refrain from apologizing, admitting blame, or expressing much at all about the events leading up to the accident. Whether or not you were actually liable for the crash, saying that you’re sorry can be enough to derail an insurance or personal injury claim.
Mistake: Posting details on social media
At a time when we rely on technology to help us communicate, it may feel natural to update your friends and family about your accident on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. After a traumatic event, it can feel comforting to have others reach out, but you may want to keep these events private until they’ve been completely resolved.
Remember that insurance companies, police officers, and lawyers know how to use social media, too. If the story you’ve told on social media has been embellished or doesn’t match up with the report you’ve given police or your insurer, you could be in trouble. These posts could be used to deny a claim or could even result in charges, depending on the circumstances.
Instead of telling the world about your accident, tell only those who are closest to you through other means. Refrain from posting photos or sharing details about what occurred during the crash. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Most of us think that we’ll never be involved in a major crash, but data shows us otherwise. It’s essential to protect yourself after an accident, no matter how minor it may be. Make sure to seek out medical attention, watch what you say, and contact a lawyer following a collision.