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Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Maryland Auto Accident 

No one prepares to be involved in an automobile accident. They happen around the DMV every single day, but they are occurrences that happen to other people – no one expects that it will happen to them. Decisions an auto accident victim makes in the aftermath of the immediate aftermath of their accident can ensure that their rights to a fair recovery are protected to the greatest extent.  Here are some of the common mistakes to avoid, if you can do so safely (it goes without saying that your health, safety and well-being should ALWAYS be first priority): 

1. Not Involving Law Enforcement at the Scene 

It can be tempting to simply exchange information with the other cars involved with plans to come back to the mess of dealing with an accident later. Doing this, however, will cause significant headaches down the road. Always call the police after an accident.  

Police officers are professional investigators. When they arrive at the accident scene, they will interview parties involved, take witness statements, obtain accurate insurance information for everyone and check for injuries.  They compile this information to prepare an accident report that provides a narrative of how the accident occurred and indicates which party was at fault. This determination is not always adopted by insurance adjusters when they make an official liability decision, but it is certainly a huge help.  

2.  Not taking photos of the property damage of the other vehicles involved

It is important to document the property damage sustained on your vehicle, but it is even more important to document the property damage of the other drivers’ vehicles while on the scene. The extent of any property damage to your vehicle only paints a partial picture of the impact. Depending on the types of vehicles involved and the nature of the accident, the damage to your vehicle might be minor compared to the others. 

The insurance company will always use this partial picture to minimize your claim and recovery. You won’t have the luxury of going out to your driveway later to fully assess any damage to another driver’s car, so taking pictures at the scene is always necessary to make sure there is no missing piece.  

3.  Not seeking medical treatment 

If you are feeling any type of pain and discomfort in the immediate aftermath of an accident, you should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Explaining your symptoms in detail and how they may have changed or progressed since the accident to a medical professional shortly after it occurs will ensure that you receive the necessary treatment and guidance. It will also create the initial documentation of your injury and symptomology, which is important when it comes to negotiating your claim with the insurance company when you have finished treating.  

4.  Providing any statement (especially a recorded statement) to another party’s insurance 

Often the insurance company of another involved driver will attempt to contact you shortly after the accident.  They will tell you that it is simply to obtain additional information about how the accident happened so they can complete their evaluation. This isn’t entirely untrue, but they don’t tell you that their main purpose during their investigation is to find a way, any way, to avoid fairly compensating you for your damages. We cannot stress this enough: the insurance company is never working to help you – they’re working to save themselves money.  

You have absolutely no obligation to directly participate in the investigation performed by another driver’s insurance. If you receive a call from another party’s insurance you can and should, tell the investigator that you do not wish to provide them with a statement and hang up. If you already have an attorney at the time that they call, you should immediately tell the insurance company that you are represented by counsel.