Between seeking medical attention for injuries you’ve sustained, getting quotes for vehicle repairs, and contacting your insurer, you’ll likely have a full plate from a car accident.
Following a car accident, you are likely to experience a whirlwind of emotions. From fear to frustration to despair, car accidents don’t usually bring positive feelings. However, failing to keep a cool head and take all necessary steps after the accident can reduce your chances of receiving timely and stress-free compensation. So, in the event that you find yourself involved in an accident for which you bear no responsibility, try to avoid the following mistakes.
Don’t wait for law enforcement
No matter how rushed you are, it is not advisable to leave the scene of an accident before law enforcement arrives. For one thing, many states require that the police be notified of any accident resulting in vehicle damage or bodily injury, and if your accident meets any of these criteria, leaving the scene prematurely may be an illegal act. Even if you are in no way responsible for the accident, fleeing the scene is likely to give the impression that you bear some responsibility.
Also, if the responsible party waits for the police after you leave the scene, they will have a good opportunity to control the narrative surrounding the incident and present themselves as beyond reproach. In addition to shaping the resulting accident report, their version of events is likely to paint you in a very negative light, no matter how one-sided the accident.
Failing to report the accident to your insurer in a timely manner
It is in your interest to promptly report any car accident you have been in to your insurer. Keep in mind, however, that reporting an accident is not the same as filing a claim, which can take a bit of time. In addition, waiting too long to report a claim may seem suspicious, so do not hesitate to report any accident to your insurer as soon as possible. Although many insurers do not provide a specific window in which accidents must be reported, they do encourage people to alert them as soon as possible.
Plus, if you don’t have auto insurance yet, there’s no better time than the present to fix it. In fact, it’s illegal to drive without car insurance in most states, so if you’re currently uninsured, you could be breaking the law. If cost is a concern, you’ll be pleased to know that car insurance discounts are surprisingly easy to find. Remember, the last thing you want is to be uninsured after a car accident.
Failing to file a claim within the time limit
Although accidents should be reported to your insurer immediately, you will usually have enough time to file a claim in the event of an accident. The time you will have to file a claim varies by state, but in many cases you will have up to two years. However, depending on the state and type of accident, you can have as little as one year and as much as 10 years.
When filing a claim, you will need to include a number of documents. These documents include, but are not limited to, vehicle repair estimates, 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 are likely to receive the compensation owed to you.
Not talking to a lawyer
If you intend to take legal action against the person who caused the accident, it is in your best interest to seek out a competent attorney. Also, if your insurer is continually bothering you or refusing to pay a claim, a good lawyer may be able to speed things up. Floridians who have been affected by traffic accidents can find an experienced and helpful motor vehicle accident attorney in Tampa, Florida.
In some cases, the consequences of a car accident can be even more stressful than the accident itself. Between seeking medical attention for injuries you’ve sustained, getting quotes for vehicle repairs, and contacting your insurer, you’ll likely have a full plate from a car accident. Yet, as exhausting as this experience can be, you can make it considerably less painful by avoiding the faux pas described above.