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Auto Accidents — Seven Slip-Ups

Time and experience have shown that drivers can make seven mistakes that forfeit rights and limit opportunities for fair restitution in auto accidents.

1. Failing to call the police. Without an official police accident record, it is, unfortunately, one driver's word against the other's about what happened. All claims bear equal weight.

2. Consenting to working out auto damage repairs and medical injury care with a trusting handshake. People can change their minds and tell different stories.

3. Declining an immediate check-up and ongoing medical assistance. A neck that started hurting a week after the collision is harder to justify. Also, insurance companies often counter that delayed pain may come from an existing condition or an earlier or subsequent occurrence.

4. Failing to collect or exchange information with other drivers, passengers or eyewitnesses. The document trail of evidence and statements can make or break a claim.

5. Forgetting to notify your insurance company. You paid the insurance premiums, but by forgetting to call, you may incur out-of-pocket costs that the insurer should cover.

6. Saying "It was my fault." Be fair to yourself. This accident may really not have been your responsibility.

7. Not consulting an attorney. It's often said, "He who defends himself has a fool for a client." Omitting legal representation cedes your rights to the other driver's insurance company.