Picture this.

You’re cruising down the freeway, the sun is shining, your favorite track is on. You feel a sudden hit and your whole body is jolted forward. You regain control of your vehicle and slow down to a stop. You’ve just experienced a car accident.

Car accidents are arguably one of the most stressful events in a lot of people’s lives. With so much on the line, it’s essential to be ready for such a situation and know what actions to take at the right time. According to Louisville car accident lawyer Ronald Johnson, the way you respond to the situation can largely impact whether you’d be able to recover your damages in mediation for an auto accident, or when it becomes a lawsuit. Victims often make mistakes that hinder their chances of receiving fair compensation.

So, here’s the top 5 mistakes people make after a car accident:

Not Reporting Accident to The Police

In the aftermath of any serious accident, the police need to be called. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when they get into an accident. It’s understandable that you might think that the accident isn’t serious enough or that the authorities aren’t needed, but not having the police present makes the process of filing a claim with the insurance company way harder.

The police officers that arrive on the scene are able to collect valuable evidence that no one else can replicate. Their hard work can serve as a launching point for your case through tracking down witnesses, taking photos, and analyzing the scene of the accident.

Admitting Guilt

After an accident, one of the biggest mistakes people could do is immediately admit fault by apologizing for the accident. It’s natural to want to resolve things quickly or wanting to make everyone feel better by saying “I’m sorry”. The issue is, this could make you liable for property and bodily damages incurred by the other driver and may lead to your insurance claim being denied.

So, I advise against apologizing in any fashion immediately after a car accident, your best bet is to gather information, tend to any injuries, and wait for the police to show up.

Failing to Gather Evidence

One main issue that a lot of people unknowingly fall victim to is not gathering evidence after an accident. Of course, in the case of a serious accident with injuries, getting medical care is the number one priority. Once you are able, it’s crucial to gather as much evidence as you can.

Take detailed pictures of the accident scene with your smartphone, take detailed pictures of your injuries as well. Try to write down any important information before you forget, see if you can get the information of any by-standing witnesses that could aid your case.

Taking the time to do this immediately after a traumatic experience is no easy task, but it will get your case off to a fast start and provide your attorney with all the necessary information to investigate the case.

Not Getting Medical Attention

The issue with this is that more often than not, injuries from car accidents don’t manifest until days or weeks after the accident. In most severe cases, you could develop a head injury or internal bleeding without really knowing. Because these injuries require immediate medical treatment, it’s crucial to seek medical care as soon as you can even if you do not feel pain at that moment.

In addition to seeking medical treatment, try to put an effort in creating a record of the exact nature of your injuries. Since insurance companies often try to minimize a victim’s injuries by claiming they did not seek medical attention after the accident, it’s important to thoroughly document your injuries with a professional medical provider.

Settling for Less Than You Deserve

This could easily be the biggest mistake car accident victims can make. Since insurance companies are mainly worried about the bottom-line, they almost never would offer you a fair settlement right off the bat. Make sure you never sign anything or accept any offers that wouldn’t cover all your losses. Settling for less than you deserve is like admitting defeat.

Instead, try to run any offers by the insurance company by your trusted lawyer. Insurance companies will be a lot more careful with your case when they know you have strong legal representation to back you up.