Getting into a car accident is an unfortunate but chilling reality for many. According to crash data compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC), it was found that there were 12.8 million crashes in 2022 alone, with over 46,000 deaths and 5.2 million medically consulted injuries. Getting into a car accident can undoubtedly be overwhelming, stressful, and ridden with emotion, and this is typically where people tend to make key mistakes.

Furthermore, there are several mistakes people commonly make after getting into a car accident that can come back to bite them in the end. In the unfortunate event that you wind up in a car accident, remember to avoid these common mistakes.

Leaving the Accident Scene

States have specific laws regarding what to do in the event of an accident, and many of these laws include important information about your duty to remain at the scene of the accident.

In Washington state, for example, RCW Section 46.52.020 states that if there is an accident involving injury or death, the involved parties must stay at the accident scene until they have fulfilled the legal requirements, such as exchanging personal information with those involved and ensuring that the injured individual has received the necessary medical treatments.

Failure to do this may subject you to a felony charge, which can have life-lasting implications.

Not Calling the Police

Inside Car Accident Litigation

Another common mistake that is made is not calling the local law enforcement. Although you may tempted not to in the event the accident is very minor, state law may require you to. For example, Washington requires you to contact the police if there is more than $1,000 worth of property damage, personal injury, or fatality.

Furthermore, if you are hesitant as to whether you should call your local police, it is probably in your best interest to do so.

Admitting Fault

One key thing that individuals often make the mistake of doing is admitting fault. Fault can be mistakenly admitted in a number of ways, regardless of whether it was intentional.

For example, apologizing to the other driver immediately following the accident may be self-incriminating, which can be very damaging to your car accident claim and may impact your ability to recover fair compensation.

Failing to Gather Evidence

Gathering evidence following a car accident is crucial to your claim or lawsuit. Evidence may include photos and videos of the accident scene, property damage, road conditions, and any injuries.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this tangible, time-stamped evidence will be hard to refute in court. Ultimately, the more evidence that you can gather, the more supported your claim and argument will be.

Not Exchanging Personal Information

Another crucial step that people often fail to take following an accident is to exchange personal information with those involved.

Although you may be frazzled following the accident, it is important that you collect the personal information of any individuals involved, including their name, insurance information, driver’s license number, address, phone number, license plate number, and more.

Failing to have these key pieces of information can make it very difficult for you to file a claim with your insurance.

In addition to gathering the personal information of those involved, it is also important to gather the personal contact information of any individuals who witnessed the accident occur. Ultimately, their insight and testimony may be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful claim in court.

Not Contacting a Lawyer

The final mistake that is commonly made by individuals in the aftermath of a car accident is not contacting a car accident lawyer to help you with your claim. Insurance companies are notorious for denying and devaluing claims, as well as offering low-ball settlement amounts.

However, if you have the expertise of a Tacoma car accident lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected, that you are not being taken advantage of, and that you will recover the compensation that you rightfully deserve.