From a distracted driver who rear-ends your car at a traffic light to a drunk driver who sideswipes your vehicle as you travel down the highway, traffic accidents can happen anywhere and to anyone. During 2014 alone, highway patrol officers throughout Pennsylvania responded to more than 121,000 reports of traffic accidents which sent nearly 80,000 people to hospitals and claimed the lives of 1,317.
Even the safest and most experienced drivers can fall victim to the careless and reckless actions of distracted, speeding, and drunk drivers. When an accident happens, many drivers don’t know what to do and consequently make mistakes that can negatively affect their ability to recover compensation for their injuries and repair costs.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, it’s important to understand what you should and should not do. The following are five mistakes to avoid after a traffic accident.
- Leaving the accident scene – Drivers in Pennsylvania who leave the scene of an accident not only forfeit the prospect of recovering compensation for injuries and property damage, but also may face criminal hit-and-run charges.
- Failing to exchange information with other involved drivers – Even if there is no visible vehicle damage and no one appears to be injured, it’s important to exchange information with all involved parties. Without the other driver’s contact, insurance, and vehicle identification information; you cannot recover compensation if you subsequently develop pain from injuries suffered in an accident.
- Failing to call the police – With no official police report, an insurance provider is less likely to cover costs associated with vehicle repairs or physical injuries.
- Admitting fault or blaming another driver – When interacting with any other involved driver(s), avoid discussing why the accident happened. Admitting that you were distracted or blaming the other driver can ruin your chances of recovering any compensation and create a hostile and potentially dangerous situation.
- It can take days or weeks after an accident before you realize the full extent of your injuries. If you never see a doctor and receive a formal diagnosis, your insurer won’t pay any related claims.