If you’re like most drivers, you’ll probably be involved in a car accident at some point in your life. Even if you’re a safe driver and you practice defensive driving, you can’t ensure that other drivers around you will be as conscientious and responsible.

When you find yourself in the middle of a car accident — especially if you believe that it wasn’t your fault — you’ll likely experience a lot of mixed emotions that can cloud your judgment. Unfortunately, far too many drivers find that they make simple mistakes that harm their accident claim later on.

Even though you’ll always want to contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer as soon as possible following an accident, here are a few pointers about mistakes you’ll want to avoid in the meantime.

Mistake 1: Apologizing or accepting responsibility at the scene of the accident.

Even though you might feel bad about what happened, refrain from apologizing to the other driver. Some insurance companies have been known to cite a driver’s apology as proof that he/she was at fault for the accident. Try to stay as objective as possible during this time and don’t accept blame until a car accident lawyer has examined your case closely.

Mistake 2: Not seeking medical treatment right away.

Similarly, insurance companies have cited a person’s failure to seek medical care as proof that they weren’t really injured in the accident (or weren’t injured as badly as they claimed). Even if you think you’ve only sustained minor injuries, it’s wise to visit the emergency room or make an appointment to see your doctor. These visits might uncover injuries that you weren’t aware of.

Mistake 3: Not saving paperwork and not making records.

When you do seek medical care, always be sure to ask for extra copies of billing statements, after-care summaries, and any other documentation that supports your claim. You’ll also want to document any time you’ve missed work, any insurance bills you receive, and any other documentation that might pertain to the accident. Many accident victims also return to the scene of the accident to take photos or keep a journal of their injury symptoms following the accident.

Mistake 4: Accepting the insurer’s first settlement offer.

While some insurance companies do treat their clients well, it’s prudent to remember that insurance companies are in the business to make money. The more money they pay out in accident claims, the less revenue the business brings in. In many cases, insurance companies offer settlements that are far lower than what the victims truly deserve. It’s a good idea to have a personal injury lawyer review your claim and determine if the insurance company’s settlement is fair or not.

Mistake 5: Hesitating to take legal action for fear of a courtroom case.

If you’re hesitant to take legal action because you don’t want to waste your time and money on a big trial, the good news is that most accident claims don’t make it to court. A car collision accident lawyer in Atlanta victims recommend from Butler Kahn can engage with the other parties in negotiations through mediation or arbitration proceedings.