Having a plan for what steps to take after a car crash is important. People often become discombobulated during the immediate aftermath of a collision and have a hard time thinking as rationally as they usually do. Those who have a clear plan in place already will have an easier time responding to the stress of being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
It is important for people to know that they should document the scene of the crash, reach out to local law enforcement and seek medical evaluation after a collision. However, it is equally important to avoid two of the most common mistakes that people make after a car crash that could potentially affect their legal and financial rights in the future.
Apologizing to the police or the other driver
An individual’s sense of propriety and personal responsibility could put them at a disadvantage when they need to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit later. Specifically, the decision to apologize to others for the perceived inconvenience involved in a collision may seem like the polite thing to do. Unfortunately, many people will interpret an apology as an admission of personal responsibility or fault. Therefore, someone’s attempt to apologize out of politeness might make it harder for them to get the full insurance compensation they deserve later or to pursue a lawsuit against the motorist at fault for the crash, as it could lead to claims of comparative negligence.
Settling a claim as quickly as possible
No one dealing with the aftermath of a car crash relishes the idea of protracted insurance negotiations. The idea of receiving a lump-sum settlement early in the process is very appealing in part because it means someone won’t have to continue negotiating with and sending paperwork to the insurance company. An early settlement offer may seem tempting, but it will usually absolve the insurance provider of any future responsibility, which means that the settlement will put the affected individual at a disadvantage should additional costs arise. Those dealing with significant injuries, in particular, may need to prepare for a complicated claims process and the possibility that they will need to go to court to fully recover their losses.
Avoiding common mistakes after a car crash may make it easier for someone to hold another driver accountable for causing a wreck and to move forward in healthy, informed ways.