Whether due to bad weather or poor decision-making on the part of another driver, people end up in accidents every day. Some of those people only have to deal with property damage, their biggest problem being that they have to replace or repair their vehicles. Other people may suffer severe injuries, and in some cases, collisions prove to be fatal.
Regardless of what kind of accident you experienced, you need to make sure you are adequately protecting yourself. You probably already know there are some things you should do after a crash to ensure you receive insurance coverage and comply with the law.
There are also certain mistakes that people make immediately after an accident that can reduce or eliminate their insurance coverage and protection. Avoiding those mistakes is critical in the aftermath of a crash.
Don’t ever apologize to the other driver
Maybe you come from a religious background. Perhaps you were simply trained to be polite to a fault. Whatever the reason, if your instinct after a crash is to apologize, don’t. While you may think it is obvious that your apology is more for the inconvenience or pain of the other party involved, any apology could become an admission of guilt in the eyes of an insurance company or law enforcement.
You can express empathy or sympathy with other people involved in the collision without apologizing and implicating yourself. Ask the other driver if they suffered injuries. Review the scene carefully and try to determine any factors other than driver mistakes that contributed to the crash. Do not apologize or in any way assume guilt or responsibility for the crash.
Don’t accept a settlement without reading it carefully
Another major mistake that people make after a crash usually happens days or weeks after the incident. When an insurance company comes offering a settlement, many times people jump at the offer of a lump sum, which can seem like an awful lot of money.
They quickly accept the settlement, not realizing that the amount may not cover all their present and future expenses. They may also fail to read the settlement agreement, which typically precludes the person signing from seeking additional compensation. You need to make sure that a settlement offer is reasonable and fair based on the property damage and injuries you suffered in a motor vehicle collision.
Not having the right kind of coverage is an ongoing mistake
Many people want to keep their monthly budget as trim as possible. That often means opting for lower-cost choices for monthly necessities. Simply buying the minimum policy available to you isn’t always the right decision. This is especially true if you have an expensive or specialized vehicle, like a handicap accessible van.
If you don’t already have a comprehensive policy, it may be time to improve your insurance. You should also review whether you carry riders that protect you in the event of a crash caused by a driver without insurance or a driver whose insurance does not cover the full replacement cost of your vehicle. Uninsured and underinsured driver riders are excellent protection that you shouldn’t overlook when updating your policy.