We all know that what you do after a car accident is critical if you end up in court, but did you know it’s just as important to avoid taking certain actions? After a wreck, there are several mistakes you can make that can take a huge chunk out of your settlement—or even prevent you from getting a settlement at all.
No one gets into a car expecting to get into an accident, but 25,511 people were injured in vehicle accidents in England in 2018 alone. It can happen to anyone, at any time, through no fault of your own. Keep reading so you’ll know what to avoid if it ends up happening to you.
Never admit responsibility, even if it’s your fault
This is by far the biggest and most expensive mistake you could possibly make after a car accident. It’s simply not possible to know whose fault an accident was when you’re still at the scene and possibly in shock. Even if you feel like the accident was your fault, there could be other factors that came into play that haven’t been revealed yet. For example:
- The other driver was drunk.
- There was a defect in the road.
- The other driver was using their mobile phone.
- Your tire was defective.
- The other driver staged the accident for insurance money.
You should only admit fault in a wreck after the insurance carriers, solicitors, or jury assigns fault to you..
Resist the urge to apologise
Did you know that the average Brit apologises up to 20 times a day and regularly apologises for things they know aren’t their fault? If you didn’t know, don’t apologise for it. I understand we are polite people, and apologising is a part of English etiquette and good manners…but not in the case of a motor vehicle collision.
Aside from the bare minimum of communication that is necessary to exchange information, the only people you should be speaking to after an accident are the Bobbies.
Don’t forget to collect evidence
Taking pictures of evidence at the scene of the accident can help prove that you were not at fault. If you’re not so injured that you have to go straight to the hospital, before you have left the scene of the accident you should take as many photos as you can. You’ll want to take pictures of damage to the vehicles, any injuries, and anything else that was a contributing factor.
Don’t forget the witness statements
Memories can fade quickly. If there were any witnesses to the crash, be sure to get their contact information and videotaped witness statements at the scene, while it’s all still fresh in their minds. Eyewitness testimony can mean the difference between being held liable and getting a settlement.
Don’t skip the solicitor
The insurance claim and settlement process can be extremely complex, and claims adjusters will try to settle with you for as little as possible. Solicitors have the experience and knowledge of the law to protect your rights and get you the largest possible settlement. If you have any questions about the settlement process, you can visit baderscott.com to learn more.
Don’t settle too early
You may want to get your settlement check as quickly as possible so you can put the accident behind you, but this can put your health and finances at risk. You may end up with more damages later on if your injuries haven’t completely healed. Give yourself time to make sure the full extent of your damages is known before you accept a settlement offer.
Don’t wait too long to file a claim
In most cases, you will have three years from the time of the accident or the time you should have reasonably realised you were injured to file a legal claim. Talk to a solicitor as soon as possible after a crash to make sure you file your claim in time.
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