Things to Avoid Doing After a Car Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
When navigating the aftermath of a car accident, you may be unaware of the rules and procedures you need to follow to protect your rights. Many drivers make decisions based on emotions such as guilt, fear, or anxiety after a collision, which sometimes results in losing out on necessary compensation.
A minor mistake after a collision can cause a major headache when filing your car accident claim. Learn the most common mistakes to avoid after a car accident with the car accident injury attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
Leaving the Scene of the Accident
Michigan law forbids leaving the scene of the accident, no matter how minor. Under Section 257.619 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, you must provide the other driver with your name, contact information, and car registration number. You must also show them your driver’s license.
If you hit an unattended vehicle, Section 257.620 of the Vehicle Code requires that you try to find the owner. If you cannot find them, you must report the accident at the nearest police station.
The law does not require you to exchange insurance information, such as your insurance company and policy number, with the other driver. However, you will need this information to file an insurance claim.
Not Filing a Police Report
While you are not always required by law to call the police after an accident, most auto insurance companies ask for a copy of the police report when you file a claim. If you are in a serious accident, call 911; otherwise, call the police station or non-emergency line. A police officer will come to the accident scene to file an accident report.
Once the accident report has been filed, you can obtain a copy through Michigan’s Traffic Crash Purchasing System. You can then provide the report to your insurance company and attorney.
If you are involved in an accident that injures or kills someone or causes at least $1,000 in property damage, you are required by law to report the accident to law enforcement.
Delaying Medical Care
Some victims of car accidents don’t seek medical attention because they don’t believe they were injured or fear they can’t afford treatment. However, seeking medical care after an accident is crucial because injuries are not always immediately apparent.
If you seek treatment several hours or days after the accident, you may be denied compensation by an insurance company because they may suspect you are exaggerating your injuries.
If you have been involved in a car accident, call an ambulance if you believe you have been seriously injured or seek medical attention immediately after filing the police report. Quickly establishing a record of medical care will help you prove your damages if you choose to seek compensation from the other driver.
Not Filing with Your Insurance Company
Failing to file a claim with your insurance could jeopardize your financial security. If you do not file within the time limit provided by your insurer, you will forfeit all coverage for the accident. This includes your PIP coverage, which pays medical expenses and lost wages related to the crash. Without coverage, you may have to pay for these expenses yourself.
Not filing with insurance can also leave you vulnerable if the other driver decides to sue. In Michigan, all drivers must carry Bodily Injury/Property Damage (BI/PD) coverage, which covers the cost of your attorney and the other driver’s settlement.
If you do not file with insurance, you forfeit the use of your BI/PD policy and must pay any legal expenses out of your own pocket.
Giving a Statement to the Other Driver’s Insurance
After the accident, you may be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, asking you to provide information. They might request that you give them a recorded statement or sign paperwork.
The insurer may try to convince you that these actions will benefit your insurance claim. However, their goal is to keep you from filing a claim against the other driver by signing away your right to sue or accidentally admitting fault.
Since Michigan is a no-fault state, you will primarily communicate with your own insurance company, not the other party’s. However, if your accident allows you to make a third-party claim for damages and the other driver’s insurance contacts you about the accident, don’t give any statements and direct them to your attorney.
Immediately Accepting a Settlement
The first settlement amount offered by insurance is unlikely to cover the full extent of your losses, including medical costs, rehabilitation, and lost wages. Most insurers, however, hope you won’t realize this and will accept the offer without a second thought. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot recover further compensation for the accident.
If you receive a settlement offer, let your lawyer know. The attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. know what a fair settlement looks like and can negotiate a higher amount so you get what you’re owed.
Not Consulting a Car Accident Attorney
Recovering compensation from your insurance after a car accident is a difficult process, and Michigan’s no-fault laws add to the challenge. Scheduling a consultation with a car accident lawyer from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. ensures you get the assistance you need during any point in the claims process.
Your attorney can review your policy, investigate the facts of the accident, and negotiate with insurers to get the settlement you’re owed. Firm partner and former nurse Eileen Kroll is familiar with the injuries suffered by car accident victims. She can carefully review your medical records after a crash to estimate a fair settlement and prove your damages.
Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident With Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
Many Michigan car accident victims benefit from speaking with the auto accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our legal team will work to build a strong argument for your claim and help you seek the maximum settlement possible after a crash.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.