Experts estimate that around 93% of all car accidents are the result of poor driving, intoxication, and other human factors. If you have been involved in a car accident, it is your legal right to seek compensation for the physical injuries and mental trauma that you suffered. Yet every year, many people do not get adequate compensation because they overlook a few basic but crucial steps. Knowing what to do and what to avoid after a car accident can maximise your chances of getting full compensation. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
DON’T panic and run away from the accident scene.
DO stay and record all details.
The pain, shock, and confusion you experience immediately after an accident may cause you to leave the accident spot immediately. If you were seriously injured, you would need medical help. However, avoid panicking and running away from the accident scene. Not only is fleeing from an accident spot illegal, it will also weaken your case even if you were not at fault.
The first thing to do after an accident is to stay calm and record all the details in a diary. This includes recording:
o Contact details (names, telephone numbers, addresses, etc.) of all the people involved including the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
o Vehicle details such as make, registration number, insurance company details, colour, headlights and indicators (on or off), etc.
o Accident details such as how it happened, whether signal was red or green, how fast were the cars, etc.
o Time and date of the accident
o External conditions such as visibility, weather, street lighting, etc. that could influence the accident
o Damages to both vehicles
Always keep a pen and diary in your car. Also, use your mobile phone camera or any other camera to take photos of the accident site. This will serve as important evidence when you file your claim for compensation.
DON’T admit fault.
DO share details with the other party.
After a car accident, the other party will most likely try to pinpoint the blame of the accident on you. In the confusion that arises after an accident, you may not remember much about what happened. You may also mistakenly believe you caused it. Only a complete investigation into the circumstances of the car accident will reveal who was at fault. Admitting that it was your mistake will reduce your chances of receiving adequate compensation.
At the same time, cooperate with the other party when they ask you for details such as your phone number and address. Not giving details after a car accident is an offence.
DON’T ignore legal formalities.
DO contact the necessary authorities.
After you have recorded evidence, the next important step is to inform the police within 24 hours of the accident. Get your statement recorded. Provide your insurance documents at the time of reporting the accident. Discuss the accident in detail with the police, but as mentioned before, do not discuss your fault or liability.
Also, call up your insurance company immediately and let them know if you intend to file a claim for compensation. If you do not notify them within the time limit mentioned in your policy, the insurance company may refuse to compensate you.
DON’T ignore injuries, even if they are minor.
DO see a doctor.
See a doctor immediately after a car accident, even if you have not suffered major injuries. The medical examination report is one of the most important documents for filing a compensation claim.
DON’T sign any document.
DO speak to an experienced attorney.