Car accident victims, often in a state of shock, make critical mistakes in the aftermath of a crash, which can be detrimental to their physical well-being and financially costly. If you are in a car accident, keep the following common mistakes in mind so that you know what not to do and what actions to take. Any misstep can impede your recovery if you’ve suffered serious injuries and jeopardize your ability to seek fair compensation and get what you deserve.
Ignoring Your Injuries
Take your injuries seriously. You may not feel “that bad” or “just sore” following a car crash, but a sudden jolt that knocks you into the steering wheel can result in debilitating, long-term neck injuries. You may suffer soft-tissue injuries or even a concussion, which is a type of traumatic brain injury and can lead to serious long-term issues.
Blowing off your injuries will prevent you from getting well and perhaps miss days and even weeks from work. It will also hurt your chances of recovering payment for your medical bills and any other financial compensation to which you’re entitled from the insurance company if you decide to file a claim in the future. The insurance company will question your injuries and motives because you waited too long to seek medical care and report the claim.
Not Seeking Medical Care Immediately
Even if you don’t have life-threatening injuries, only a medical provider can determine how severe an injury is. Car accident lawyers recommend that you get medical treatment following car wrecks. They also recommend that you don’t say anything about your injuries at the accident scene, as this can jeopardize your claim down the road. Whatever you do, don’t say you’re fine or okay just to make someone else feel better.
Neglecting to Get the Other Driver’s Info and Evidence
Depending on the severity of the car accident (and, of course, your injuries), always try to get the other driver’s information, including their name and insurance policy information. A car accident lawyer can always follow up for more details later.
Gather as much evidence as possible (again, depending on the seriousness of your injuries). This includes witness names and info, a copy of the accident report, footage of the incident, and any photos of the accident.
Failing to Call the Police
File a police report following a car accident. Don’t allow the other driver to talk you into not calling a police officer and taking care of the accident between the two of you.
Waiting Too Long to File a Car Accident Claim
Each state has its statute of limitations (deadlines) for filing a personal injury claim and regulations involving car accidents, including no-fault laws. You must seek medical attention and get a personal injury attorney involved to help you navigate the process of filing a claim. If you wait too long, evidence gets lost, witnesses’ memories fade, and video footage of the accident, if it exists, may be taped over. If you decide to file a lawsuit, you may miss the deadline.
Oversharing with the Insurance Company
The insurance company adjuster is not your friend; their objective is to save money for the insurer. Don’t get chummy, don’t discuss fault, or provide unnecessary details. Adjusters are looking for you to open up when there is no legal representation to help you in order to reduce the settlement in an auto accident case.
Don’t say sorry, admit you were at fault, or explain what caused the auto accident. While a statement off the cuff may seem harmless, it can be used against you.
Handling an Auto Accident on Your Own
Experienced personal injury attorneys can guide you through the claim, gather evidence of negligence and liability, communicate and negotiate with insurance companies, and recover compensation (medical bills, hospital bills, lost income), punitive damages, and other expenses involved in car accident injuries.
If you are a car accident victim, contact Gary Kompothecras to provide you with access to qualified legal professionals for a free consultation to answer your questions and help with your car accident settlement.