Top Five Mistakes People Make After Being In A Car Accident

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: May 26, 2017

Top Five Mistakes People Make After Being In A Car Accident

It’s bad enough that you were in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, and now you have to deal with all of the hassles that follow.  Dealing with the insurance company, both your and the other drivers, is a hassle!  In fact, most people don’t realize that neither insurance company is in your corner.  Even your insurance company has the goal of managing costs and controlling the amount of money that they will need to pay out.


Because of this, the decisions that you make immediately after the car accident are the most critical to avoiding the mistakes people make after being in a car accident. These decisions can be the difference between getting the compensation and benefits that you deserve or getting nothing at all.

Below I discuss the top 5 mistakes people make after being in a car accident, so that you can avoid them. 

Downplaying your injuries

– If you are in an accident and are fortunate to have not broken any bones or experienced what most people would describe as “serious” injuries, you want to conclude that you are fine…..that you weren’t really inured.  You figure that soreness that you feel will go away over time.  But misjudging how severe your injuries are is a very serious mistake that can hurt you in two ways:

  1. It makes you seem like you’re not hurt, when you are.
  2. It creates a time period after the accident where you are not receiving medical care, but really do need it.

So don’t say your fine after an accident if your body hurts.  Even if your injuries aren’t life-threatening and you don’t need an ambulance, don’t say, “I’m okay.” Instead, say precisely what you mean – you don’t need an ambulance at this time.  But always let first responders know about whatever symptoms you may be feeling – no matter how minor.  This is important because many injuries don’t seem severe at first, but that initial pain can turn out to be something serious – and it can get worse.

Failing to see medical care immediately

– If you have significant injuries at the accident scene you will need to take an ambulance to the emergency room.  If this is not needed, you should see your primary care physician (or other doctor) the next day.  If you feel pain you should not go more than a week without receiving medical attention.  If your doctor is out of town, go to an urgent care, chiropractor, or some other medical provider.  This is important because how can your injuries get better if you never seek any medical care?

Failing to call the police

– Calling the police is important even if the accident seems minor because you need to report the accident.  The police accident report matters because it will document what happened and should contain all of the needed information regarding the other driver and his insurance company.

If the police are not able to come out and prepare a report you must get the following:

  • You need the other drivers name, current address, and phone number. It is a great idea to take a picture of the person’s drivers license with your smart phone.
  • You need all of the person’s insurance information, which includes the name of their insurance company, the insurance policy number, and a phone number to the insurance company. Again, it is a great idea to take a picture of the person’s auto insurance card with your smart phone.

Failing to gather evidence

– You should start gathering evidence while you are waiting for the police to arrive.

  • You need to get any witness information, including names, addresses phone numbers, and email addresses. Actually get statements from the witnesses while you are waiting so you know who will say what.
  • Take photos of the cars before they are moved and of the accident scene. Make sure that you have good pictures of the damage to all  So if you were in a four car accident, you also need to take photos of the cars that may not have directly hit you.

Accepting a quick check and/or signing something from the insurance company

– Regardless of what their commercials say, the insurance company is not on your side.  Their goal is to pay as little as possible and get you claim closed out as quickly as possible.  What you want is a full settlement, not a quick settlement.  Once you settle your case, you can’t reopen it at a later date if it turns out that your injuries are more significant than you thought.  So it is better to wait, get your medical care and make sure that you are 100% recovered, and then resolve your personal injury claim.

As the owner of Zanes Law and as a car accident lawyer who has been helping people for twenty years, I have seen the mistakes people make after being in a car accident over and over.  So if you have been injured in any way, please call us and we will do our best to help you just like we helped our many clients who have left us 5-Star Google reviews

Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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