It is estimated that 20 to 50 million people are injured in a car accident every year. These numbers are astounding, but probably not terribly surprising. Chances are in a given week you pass at least one accident or “fender bender” on your daily commute.
While accidents may seem commonplace, they are far from “routine.” The actions you take immediately following a car accident can have a tremendous impact on your health and family. Here at Restaino Reddien, LLP, we help residents in Niagara Falls and across Western New York to navigate the confusion and stress that can often follow a car accident. To avoid unnecessary stress and complications down the line, here are four (4) key mistakes that are commonly made after a car accident:
Not calling your doctor first. The most important thing you should do after a car accident is unequivocally to call your doctor (or if necessary, visit a hospital). Even minor accidents can result in serious trauma, so timely care and examination by a trained medical professional is critical. This is the very first thing you should ALWAYS do after a car accident.
Waiting too long to notify your insurance carrier. The legalities of insurance and accidents is typically very straightforward. No-fault application must be received w/in 30 days after an accident. No-Fault Benefits include paying medical bills, any lost wages and reasonable expenses.
If you don’t “seem” to be injured and the damage to your vehicle is minimal, you might be tempted to avoid calling your insurance carrier altogether (I understand – it can seem like a lot to handle when you’re on the phone with an insurance company!). But notifying your carrier is important in every circumstance.
Even if you are not injured you should let your carrier know about the accident so that you have coverage in the event the other individual(s) make a claim against you.
Missing out on important documentation of your accident. This is important for your own records, but is especially important to help your attorney and insurance carrier do their jobs to the best of their abilities. These two items are the most important to collect at the scene of your accident (if possible):
If you are physically able, take photos of the vehicles involved in your accident as soon as possible.
Obtain a copy of the police report (the officer should give this to you; however, you can ask if you’re unsure).
Hesitating when it comes to calling a personal injury attorney. If you are injured, contact an attorney to make sure you have taken necessary steps to preserve a claim should you suffer from a serious injury. Failure to notify your insurance carrier in a timely fashion may result in a denial of no-fault benefits and/or denial of coverage if a claim is brought against you.
You may have noticed a trend here – most mistakes after a car accident center around TIME. The best way to avoid is any unnecessary challenges or hiccups with your insurance carrier is to contact a personal injury attorney and contact your insurance carrier the day of the accident to report the accident.
Time is truly critical in these circumstances. If you’re unsure what to do or who to call, after you’ve called your doctor, call a trusted personal injury attorney. Your mind may be whirling after the trauma of an accident – that’s completely understandable. But delays or mistakes in the early days could cost you significantly in the long run. If you or someone you know is in an accident, please feel free to call us at 716-235-5885. We can help.
Related Topics: Personal Injury