"no time for mistakes" clock

A car crash can leave you hurt, disoriented and possibly even distressed. While that can make it challenging to know precisely what steps to take in the immediate aftermath, knowing what you should NOT do is essential to protecting your rights and the value of a future car accident claim.

To minimize the chances of sabotaging any future auto wreck claim, below are the most common missteps to avoid in the minutes, days and weeks following a crash.

For helpful advice about your potential claim and how to proceed with it, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Middlesex County car accident lawyer at Mayo Law by calling (732) 613-3100 or (888) MAYO-LAW or by emailing us via the contact form on this page.

7 Missteps that Can Sabotage a Car Accident Claim

  1. Failing to call police – By law, drivers in New Jersey are required to report car crashes to local law enforcement authorities whenever the accident involves property damage, injuries or deaths. Failing to report a crash can result in fines and other penalties. It also means that there will NOT be an official police investigation or report for the crash, which can:
    • Make it more challenging to prove fault later
    • Possibly limit the evidence that’s available for your future claim.
  2. Not taking pictures of the wreckage or accident scene – Pictures can show important details about the point of impact, the extent of the damage, the road conditions and the weather conditions at the time of the crash. Without your own photographic evidence to back up your version of events, it can (again) be more difficult to establish fault and back up the statements in your claim.
  3. Immediately accepting blame or apologizing for the crash – This is one of the biggest mistakes drivers can make because it opens up a window for insurance companies to argue that you were partly or entirely responsible for the crash even if you were not at fault and regardless of whether your admissions or apologies were mistakenly given (like because you were sharing sympathy, you were disoriented or you said something without thinking).
  4. Waiting too long before seeing a doctor – The longer you wait to see a doctor after an auto crash, the more opportunity you give insurers to argue that your injuries:
    • Are not as severe as you have claimed (otherwise you would have seen a doctor sooner)
    • Were caused by some other event after the crash.
  5. Failing to promptly notify your insurance provider of the crash – Auto insurance policies commonly have specific terms regarding how soon after a wreck the policyholder/driver must notify the insurer. Failing to comply with these deadlines may present the insurer with an opportunity to delay, reduce or maybe even deny your claim.1
  6. Trusting the insurer to give you a fair settlement – Although insurers can seem friendly, sympathetic and/or helpful, you must remember that they are NOT on your side when it’s time to recover from a crash. Instead, agents and adjusters are looking out for the insurance company – and that often means that they are looking for ways to avoid paying you the full amount of compensation deserved.
  7. Not consulting a lawyer about your claim – Without an attorney in your corner, it’s far more likely that the above (and other) mistakes can be made with your claim. Ultimately, that can mean that you are far more likely to miss out obtaining compensation you deserve – and that may impact your ability to seek treatment and effectively rebuild your life.

The bottom line is that, after a car crash, the best thing you can do for yourself and a future claim is to contact an experienced attorney at Mayo Law who can guide you through the process, help you avoid any mistakes and position your claim for the maximum compensation available.

Contact a Middlesex County Car Accident Lawyer at Mayo Law, P.A

If you or someone you love has been hurt in any type of auto wreck, contact a Middlesex County car accident lawyer at Mayo Law, P.A. for more information about your potential claim.

For more than 20 years, the trusted attorneys at Mayo Law have been tireless advocates for the injured. Known for providing superior representation and personal legal service, our lawyers have the insight and experience you can count on to bring your case to a successful resolution.

To find out more about our services and how we can help you with your financial recovery, call us at (732) 613-3100 or toll free at (888) MAYO-LAW. You can also email our firm via the drop-down contact form at the top of this page. Initial consultations are free, and we do not charge any legal fees until or unless compensation is secured.

From offices based in Middlesex County, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to people through New Jersey, as well as nationwide.


1: More tips on how to file a car accident claim with insurers, from the New Jersey Office of Insurance Claims Ombudsman