If you are part of a car accident, the first thing you should do is receive medical treatment. Your health is more important than anything else, so don't hesitate to administer first-aid and call 911 for an ambulance and police assistance.
As time allows, you'll contact your insurance company to file a claim. While this sounds simple enough, there are many potential mistakes lurking. Here are a few to avoid:
- Giving a written or recorded statement: You don't want to do this until you're completely sure of your coverage and what you're entitled to.
- Signing a release: You should never put your signature on anything unless you know what it is and how it will impact your legal rights.
- Accepting a check for final payment: It's okay to do this, as long as you realize that "final means final." Don't make this decision without considering the impact.
- Ignoring the time limit: There are time limits in place, so review your policy to ensure that you know what's expected of you.
- Letting your insurance company off the hook: Your insurance policy is a contract, so make sure you receive the coverage you've been paying for.
It's easy to assume you'll avoid these car insurance claim mistakes, but things have a way of getting messy when dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident.
As you learn more about your policy, don't forget that you have legal rights. For example, if the other person caused the accident, learn more about your options for holding them responsible for your injuries and other damages.