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Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Case After a Car Accident

— October 27, 2022

Between seeking medical attention for any injuries you’ve incurred, obtaining quotes for vehicle repairs and getting in touch with your insurer, you’re likely to have a full plate in the wake of a car accident.

In the aftermath of a car accident, you’re liable to experience a whirlwind of emotions. From fear to frustration to despair, auto accidents generally don’t bring about positive feelings. However, failing to keep a cool head and take all the necessary post-accident steps can diminish your odds of collecting compensation in a timely and low-stress manner. So, in the event that you find yourself involved in an accident for which you bear no responsibility, make an effort to avoid the following mistakes. 

Failing to Wait for Law Enforcement  

Regardless of how much of a hurry you happen to be, leaving the scene of an accident before the arrival of law enforcement is ill-advised. For one thing, many states require police to be notified about every accident that results in vehicle damage or personal injury, and if your accident meets either of these criteria, leaving the scene prematurely may constitute an illegal act. Even if you’re in no way to blame for the accident, fleeing the scene is liable to create the impression that you bear some level of responsibility. 

Furthermore, if the responsible party waits for the police after you leave the scene, they’re going to have a good opportunity to control the narrative surrounding the incident and present themselves as blameless. In addition to shaping the resultant accident report, their version of events is likely to paint you in a very negative light, regardless of how one-sided the accident truly was.     

Failing to Report the Accident to Your Insurer in a Timely Manner 

It’s in your best interest to report any car accidents you’ve been in to your insurer in a timely manner. Keep in mind, however, that reporting an accident isn’t the same thing as filing a claim – which is liable to take a bit of time. Furthermore, waiting an excessively long time to report an accident is liable to seem suspicious, so make a point of notifying your insurer of any accidents at your earliest possible convenience. Although many insurers don’t provide a specific window in which accidents should be reported, they do encourage people to alert them as soon as possible. 

Additionally, if you don’t yet have auto insurance, there’s no time like the present to remedy this. In fact, it’s illegal to drive without car insurance in most states, so if you’re currently uninsured, you may be in violation of the law. If cost is a concern, you’ll be pleased to learn that car insurance discounts are surprisingly easy to come across. Just remember – the absolute last thing you want is to be uninsured after a car accident.    

Not Filing a Claim Within the Allotted Time 

Although accidents should be reported to your insurer immediately, you’ll generally have a fair amount of time to file an accident claim. The amount of time you’ll have to file a claim varies by state, but in many cases, you’ll have up to two years. However, depending on the state and type of accident, you may have as little time as one year and as much time as 10 years.

Black and white analog egg timer; image by Marcelo Leal, via
Image by Marcelo Leal, via

When filing a claim, there are a number of documents you’ll need to include. These documents include – but are not limited to – vehicle repair quotes, medical bills, any photos of the accident you may have taken and a written account of your version of events. The sooner your insurer receives your claim, the sooner you’re likely to receive the compensation you’re owed.   

Not Talking to a Lawyer 

If you intend to pursue legal action against the person who caused the accident, it’s in your best interest to seek out a knowledgeable attorney. Furthermore, if your insurer is continually giving you the runaround or refusing to pay out on a claim, a good lawyer may be able to speed things along. Floridians who have been impacted by auto accidents can find an experienced, obliging car accident injury lawyer in Tampa, FL.  

In some instances, the aftermath of an auto accident can be even more stressful than the accident itself. Between seeking medical attention for any injuries you’ve incurred, obtaining quotes for vehicle repairs and getting in touch with your insurer, you’re likely to have a full plate in the wake of a car accident. Still, as draining as this experience can be, you can make it considerably less harrowing by steering clear of the missteps outlined above.  

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