When you get in your car, do you think about the possibility of an accident? Probably not, as thinking too much about it can fluster you and make you more likely to wreck.
But car accidents are a lot more common than most of us realize. If you live in Montana, you have a 1 in 1,443 chance of dying in a car crash.
That’s the highest risk in the nation. Massachusetts is the state with the lowest odds. In the Bay State, your chances of dying in a car wreck are 1 in 20,530.
In any state, your odds of getting injured in a wreck are higher than both those numbers. And if you don’t respond properly, you may ruin your chances of filing a successful car accident lawsuit.
Read on for mistakes to avoid in the minutes, days, and weeks after a car wreck.
1) Not Calling Police
A car rear-ends you at a red light. The driver admits to falling asleep at the wheel and begs you not to call the police? Should you do what he says?
You should not. You may feel like a jerk for calling the police, but it’s vital that you get a record of the accident.
Insurance companies will conduct their own investigation, but they’ll also rely on police accounts. You gain nothing by not calling the police.
In many jurisdictions, the law requires you to call police if there’s either injuries or a certain amount of property damage.
2) Making Social Media Posts
We live every part of our lives on social media, so why would a car accident be any different? But posting about your wreck on Facebook or Twitter can be more harmful than you know.
Let’s say you post a photo of your totaled car with the caption, “I’m not hurt at all.” Harmless, right? Not so much.
Many injuries take a day or two to appear. The other side’s lawyers may try to use your post against you if you later file a car accident lawsuit.
3) Signing Forms You Don’t Understand
You get a call from your insurance adjuster. They want you to sign some forms.
You may think you understand what you’re signing. But many insurance forms are confusing by nature.
You may be signing away your right to pursue future claims without realizing it. If you have any questions or concerns, you should speak with a lawyer first.
4) Not Telling the Truth
You shouldn’t admit fault, but you also shouldn’t lie. If you aren’t sure about something, saying “I’m not sure” or shutting up is better than guessing.
If the other driver says you ran a red light, but you think it was yellow, what should you say? Don’t go along with it because you feel bad.
Tell the truth to the best of your ability. But don’t share too much information, and don’t take responsibility for something you didn’t do.
When to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
You may feel uncomfortable with the idea of filing a civil lawsuit for a car accident. But don’t rule it out before speaking with a lawyer.
A lawyer can tell you if a car accident lawsuit makes sense for your situation. Personal injury lawyers work on contingency. That means they don’t get paid unless your case is successful.
A car accident is stressful no matter what. For help navigating the aftermath, check out our list of simple health tips.