You should probably consider yourself lucky if you have been driving for any length of time and have yet to have a car accident. According to estimates by the auto insurance industry, most of us will file a claim for a car accident approximately one time every 17.9 years. This means drivers who first got their driver’s license at age 16, can expect to have three to four accidents in their lifetime. To be clear, these accidents could be minor parking lot fender benders, rather than extremely serious collisions. In fact, your lifetime chances of dying from a car accident (according to 2014 statistics) are 1 in 645.
According to the National Safety Council, there are about 10 million car accidents every year, when even the smallest bump-ins are included, and in 2009, about three out of every 1,000 car accidents involved a fatality. So, because it seems statistically inevitable that you will be involved in a car accident at some point in your life, it is important to remember certain things after your accident—mistakes that could cost you plenty and which are easily avoided. These common mistakes after a car accident include:
- Not calling the police—Perhaps one of the most serious mistakes made by those who have just been in a car accident is allowing the other driver to convince them that the damage to the vehicles is minor, therefore calling the police would only result in a ticket. Remember that a police report is an objective record of your accident. If the accident was the fault of the other driver, having this record is invaluable, as it prevents the other driver from potentially making false statements. Yes, it will take time for the police officer to show up and make a report, but in the long run, since you are not sure at this time whether the accident will result in serious consequences, it is essential to have a police report to submit to the insurance company.
- Admitting fault—Whether you believe the accident might have been your fault or not, it is extremely important that you not make a statement to that effect to anyone until you have spoken to an experienced attorney. Even saying “I’m sorry” to the other driver can make it sound like you believe the accident was your fault. Later, when you are attempting to get the insurance company to pay your medical bills or fix your car, a statement which implies fault can really come back to haunt you. You may truly not be aware of all the details surrounding your accident, therefore give the police officer the basic details of the accident, and other than that do not talk to anyone about the accident.
- Failing to exchange information—Just as in the first scenario above, where the other driver attempts to dissuade you from calling the police, sometimes a driver will tell you that because there is little visible damage to the vehicles, you should just both pay your own repair bills and avoid filing an insurance claim altogether. Never allow yourself to be talked out of exchanging information with the other driver, regardless of how minor the damage seems. You could later find out that you were injured in the accident, or that the damage to your vehicle is more extensive than it originally appeared. At that point, you are left not knowing who the person who hit you is, where they live, or whether they have insurance which could cover your damages.
- Failing to thoroughly document your accident—It is extremely important that you take photos of your accident whenever possible, and that, as soon as you are physically able, you begin a detailed account of how and when the accident occurred. Keep track of every trip to the doctor, every medical bill, and every day of missed work due to the accident. Thorough documentation of your accident can make your attorney’s job much easier down the road, ensuring you receive a fair settlement for your injuries and damages to your vehicle.
- Failing to seek medical attention—Far too many people refuse a trip to the ER or a visit to their own doctor, assuring everyone they are “fine.” In fact, because an auto accident results in a flood of adrenaline to your body, symptoms of an injury may be masked until later, when the adrenaline begins to wear off. If you refuse medical treatment now, then a few days down the line you realize you do have an injury from the auto accident, an insurance company may refuse to pay your medical bills. Even if you believe you are fine, at the very least go see your regular doctor and have yourself checked out.
Further Reading: Bully-Proof Your Child
These are just a few mistakes which could seriously cost you in terms of your future settlement, so speak to an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident.
Contact Our Boulder Car Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Boulder, or anywhere in the state of Colorado, you need an aggressive and experienced law firm on your side. Boulder car accident attorney Debbie Taussig has the experience and resources needed to win your case. Call today for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Call 303.442.0176 or fill out our confidential contact form.