Emotions run high on the site of a car accident, and it can be tough to consider the right next steps. However, the actions you take after the accident have the potential to make or break a legal case.
It’s crucial to stay collected and make the right choices in order to protect yourself from litigation. That’s why we’re highlighting the six most common mistakes people make following a motor vehicle accident. Keep reading to ensure you know what not to do!
Neglecting to Gather Evidence
A car accident can be jarring, but it’s important to remain calm and gather evidence from the scene. Your case may carry on for months or even years, and important details can be forgotten if not immediately documented. Some things you should look to collect after an accident include:
- Identification and insurance info of all drivers involved
- Photos of the scene
- Nearby witnesses’ contact info
- Receipts for all accident-related expenses
- Medical records
- Name of your health practitioner
Whether you’re speaking to witnesses, the police, or your insurance company, admitting fault, whether you’re at fault or not, is a huge mistake commonly made. Admission of fault means your word can be used against you as a ‘Tort Claim’, meaning you will be required to compensate the others involved. Never admit fault before speaking with a lawyer.
Not Reporting the Accident
Other drivers may try to convince you not to report the accident. This is not right. If the accident is serious, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, call the Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours. In the past, those who failed to report their accident faced many problems in the future, such as receiving a charge for “For Leaving the Scene of An Accident”. In order to qualify for statutory accident benefits, you must report the incident to your insurance company within seven days. The sooner you report, the less likely you are to lose any benefits.
Discussing the Accident on Social Media
After an accident, you may feel the need to jump online and share your experience on various social media. However, insurance companies and defence lawyers will often check your social media accounts to find proof of admission based on the way you discussed it or the pictures you posted. In the case of a car accident, it is best to keep the discussion offline.
Failing to Seek Medical Attention
It is very common for accident victims to assume their injuries are mild and, therefore, don’t believe it’s worth seeking medical attention. Some injuries are not always apparent immediately, such as whiplash or minor brain trauma, and misjudging an injury can make the recovery more difficult. Your insurance company and Ontario courts would require evidence of injuries. It’s therefore in your best interest to be safe rather than sorry.
Settling Too Quickly
Sometimes, insurance companies will use your lack of knowledge of the legal system or the seriousness of your injury against you. They can pressure you into settling your claim in order to reduce the amount they pay you. Always consult a lawyer before signing something from another driver or insurance company. At Beckett, we understand your legal rights and have helped hundreds of our clients get the compensation they deserve. Contact us and book a free consultation if you have recently been involved in an accident.
Published on November 23, 2020