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Four critical mistakes to avoid after a car accident

Don't compromise your recovery. Take steps to protect yourself right away.

A car accident is always a serious matter, whether you are seriously injured or just shaken up with some damage to your car. Certain errors in the aftermath of a crash can have serious implications for your health, your insurance and your financial stability. It's important to do everything you can to avoid these mistakes that people make after collisions.

1. Delaying medical care - Even if you think you're okay, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident. Many injuries take time to show symptoms, and it is important to understand the scope of any injuries, large or small. The adrenaline rush that often accompanies a traumatic event like a car accident can also mitigate symptoms and make you feel fine when you're really not. Treatment is important for both your health and any eventual claim for losses.

2. Not calling the police - Even if you are not seriously hurt, call 911 and wait for the police to arrive. In addition to the benefits of having first responders on hand to deal with injuries, this allows you to make sure an accurate police report is filed. That report can be critical evidence if you need to show that the other driver was at fault.

3. Skipping the information exchange - Your car is fine, the other driver is fine and you don't feel hurt - time to go about your day? Not without exchanging contact and insurance information. As discussed above, there may be damages that you aren't aware of yet, and you'll regret skipping this step down the road.

4. Trying to resolve it alone - Many people are hesitant to contact an attorney after an accident. We understand - no one looks forward to the day they have to hire a lawyer. But when your physical and financial recovery are on the line, it is essential that you talk to someone about your rights and options.

Have you ever been involved in a car accident? Is there anything you wish you had known at the time? Let us know in the comments below.

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