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What Are The Most Common Mistakes After A Car Accident?


Some Common Mistakes After Being Involved in a Car Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident, the first question you're going to ask yourself is: what should I do now? Unfortunately, while the internet is an amazing resource, it is also filled with misinformation. It is difficult to ask this question, and get a cogent, concise answer. At Blaszkow Legal, we hope to answer this question in a comprehensive manner, and explain to you some of the most common mistakes made by people who have been hurt in car accidents.

Making these mistakes can be costly, as they can impair and impede your recovery later on. However, even if you have made a mistake, the mistake may not be irreparable! Contact an experienced car accident lawyer right away, and we will see if we can help you correct what happened, and guide you on the path towards recovery.

The Most Common Questions After A Crash:

1) Thinking the accident is minor

Many of us have been in car accidents, that we have thought were not that bad. Perhaps you are sitting at a red light, and someone rear ends you, over-anticipating the change of the light. Many times, we see people get out of their vehicle, look at the damage, and then just keep going. While this may seem fine at the time, many of these people may wake up the next morning in considerable pain. Some injuries take 12 to 24 hours to really manifest themselves.

  • How to prevent: Regardless of how bad you think the accident is, or how modest/minor you think the damage is, always stop and collect information and evidence. This 10 minutes of your life may delay you a little, but if they also save you (and your claim!) later on.

2) Leaving the scene of the crash

If you have been involved in a crash, stop! Far too many people continue going, because they see the other car did not stop. You should never leave the scene of an accident! In fact, if you do leave the scene of an accident, you may actually be committing a crime. It is against the law in all jurisdictions to leave the scene of an accident, and this is called a hit and run. In Virginia, leaving the scene of a hit and run where there are injuries, and certain other damages, can actually be a felony!

  • How to correct: always stop after a motor vehicle collision!

3) Failing to collect everyone's information

There is a lot of literature out there that tells you to exchange insurance information after a car accident. Some of this literature is even on the back of car insurance cards themselves! While this is important information to exchange, it is in no way the only information that you need to get. It is a common misconception that your claim is against another person's insurance company. It is not! Your claim is against the at fault driver. Their car insurance company may pay the damages due to contractual and legal obligations. But your claim is not against the insurance company, because the insurance company is not the one that caused the accident.

After you have been involved in a car accident you need to get the following pertinent information:

  1. Name of the at-fault driver

  2. Picture of the at-fault driver's State issued driver's license

  3. Address

  4. Telephone number

  5. Email

  6. License plate/vehicle registration

  7. Names and contact information of any passengers and/or witnesses

  • How to correct. Always take pictures of driver's licenses, registration cards, and anything else. And remember, a person does not have the right to refuse this information. If the other person is refusing to give you his or her driver's license, then you need to stop and call the police if you have not done so already.

4) Failing to document the scene

In some cases, this is very understandable if you have been transported by ambulance to the hospital. But not all accidents results in EMS treatment and transport. If you are not being transported by ambulance, then you need to stop and take lots of pictures. It is important not only to take pictures of your car, but also of the other vehicle involved. This will help to show us the force of the impact, and to further prove other damages.

Don't be afraid to take other pictures too! Pictures of debris, traffic lights, witnesses, nearby surveillance cameras, and other items may be vital in investigating your case later on.

  • How to correct. Take pictures and video of everything. Pictures can always be deleted later on.

5) Delaying medical treatment

We all have lives, and we all know how what an impact it can be to go to an emergency room or even sit at the waiting room in an urgent care clinic for a few hours. However, from a purely medical standpoint, it is absolutely vital after a car accident to get a comprehensive evaluation. You do not know what your injuries are, until a doctor gives you an exam. Car accidents are the results of thousand-pound vehicles striking one another, with considerable force. These can result not only in soft tissue injuries, but also sprains and strains, broken bones, bruises, internal injuries, brain injuries, and more. It is extremely important for you to get looked at, and not to delay his evaluation.

An equally common mistake is going to the wrong provider after a car accident. Many people go to see a chiropractor or physical therapist because they wake up with neck pain a day or two after a crash. The reality is that chiropractors and physical therapists, more than likely, will become valued members of your treatment team. However, they are limited practice professionals, meaning under the law, they can only do so much. You need to have your injuries evaluated comprehensively, to make sure that nothing is missed. This is why you need to see an urgent care doctor, or go to the emergency room. Once you have been medically cleared (by a full practice medical doctor (M.D.) or osteopath (D.O.), then you get a referral to get this additional treatment to help you get better.

  • How to correct: get checked out after a crash, before you carry on with the rest of your day. Go to the Emergency Room, an Urgent Care clinic, or if you can get in right away, your Primary Care Doctor. The important thing is: don't wait.

6) Talking to insurance companies alone

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make after a car accident is to speak to a car insurance company, including your own. In Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC, the law of contributory negligence controls. This means that if an insurance company can allege that you are even 1% responsible for a car accident, they can deny liability for your injuries. The insurance companies love this argument, because they can use it to so swiftly torpedo your case. Even your own car insurance company can turn against you, if it turns out that the other driver does not have insurance, or is a hit and run. UM and UIM claims are adversarial, which means that your company is looking to defeat you.

  • How to correct: always talk to a lawyer before you talk to an insurance company. A lawyer is dedicated to protecting you.

Preventing Mistakes After a Car Accident

You can correct all of these mistakes easily, by following this guide and taking these steps. This will help you to make sure that you are not only taking care of yourself, but protecting and preserving the evidence that will be necessary later on to prove your case:

  • Call 911, each time and every time.

  • Stop, and document the scene.

  • Exchange information, including getting pictures of the driver's license or state ID of everyone involved

  • Make no admissions or statements about how the collision happened.

  • Get immediate medical treatment, at a Hospital or Urgent Care Center

  • Call a car accident lawyer for advice

How an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Protect You

The mistakes that are made, and can be made, can be corrected and sometimes protected against by an experienced car accident lawyer. Joe Blaszkow and his team help people injured in car accidents every day, to fight insurance companies, and stop them from minimizing and denying your claim.

If you have been hurt, you need the best representation that you can get. Call Blaszkow Legal for five star representation anywhere in the DMV. Get Justice with Joe - call 703-879-5910

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