Accidents are traumatic, no matter how big or small they may be. In those first few minutes after the accident, everything can be confusing. It can be challenging to keep your mind straight and remember what you have to do – and more importantly, what you should not do!
If you have been involved in a vehicular accident, knowing what you should avoid doing can help make your insurance claim go without a hitch. We do understand that you may be confused about what really happened and still a little shaken, but that is exactly why we want you to remember not to make these mistakes:
SAYING YOU’RE SORRY
As Canadians, it’s in our nature to immediately apologize for anything and everything. But in this situation, it’s simply not going to help you. Even if you are quite certain that you are to blame for the accident, you should avoid rushing to the other party to say sorry. It’s better to just let the authorities figure everything out. This is especially true if the other driver is already accusing you of causing the accident. Do not let them push the fault on you no matter how convincing they are.
Of course, this applies to giving a statement to the police, too. Don’t make any statements admitting you are at fault. An admission of fault can haunt you later on, especially if it’s on record. After all, you can’t be sure the other party won’t sue you for damages.
NEGOTIATING WITH THE OTHER PARTY
If it’s a minor accident and no one is injured, you may be convinced to keep the incident between you and the other driver, to keep it off the record. This can be tempting, especially if the other driver is offering to take care of the damage so you don’t have to contact insurance, avoiding an increase in your rates. Sound good? Think again.
If the accident turns out to be more serious than you thought, negotiating with the other party to discuss who should pay, and whether or not the accident should be reported to the car insurance company can cause problems later on – especially if the other driver decides to turn in a fraudulent claim against you!
Additionally, insurance companies give you a certain period of time during which you are required to report any accidents to them. Once that period is over, they can deny coverage for the accident. Should the driver change his or her mind about suing you, you might end up paying out of your own pocket if an injury is discovered later on. You can even end up the victim of insurance fraud because you failed to get all the facts on record.
LEAVING THE SCENE TOO SOON
After an accident, all you want to do is go straight home and sleep. But you should not leave the accident scene until you have gathered all the important information from the other driver. Be wary if the other driving is insisting on working out everything later and just wants to give his contact information. They could be giving you false information.
Aside from contact information, you should ask for the other driver’s insurance information. If there are any witnesses, it would be wise to ask for their contact info as well. In the case of injuries, or if the damage is quite big, wait for the police at the scene. Do not move anything and make sure the police record everything correctly.
The best thing to do after an accident is to allow the experts to handle things. Be polite but do not say sorry. See if anyone’s hurt and do not discuss what happened to anyone. Avoid doing anything that can create potential issues later on.
If things do not go as smoothly as you wished them to, immediately contact a dependable paralegal from Bulwark Legal Services to help you with legal matters.