Being in a car accident is stressful and traumatic, especially if you suffer injuries. This can make it difficult to think clearly. In addition, many people simply do not know how the claims process works afterward. This can make it easy to make mistakes that could hurt your case.
While avoiding the biggest mistakes made after a car accident is essential, the best way to protect your rights after a crash is to enlist the help of a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can go to work on your behalf immediately, and you can focus on your treatment and healing from your injuries.
Failing to Notify Police of a Car Accident
Crash victims often let the at-fault driver convince them that a police report is not necessary and they can handle things without calling law enforcement. However, this is not a good idea. You will want a police report as evidence when you file a claim, and most insurers will require it before making a payment – even if you file for damages based on your own collision coverage.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Not Getting Immediate Medical Care
Your health and well-being must always be your top priority. After any crash, getting assessed and cleared by a doctor is a good idea. This should be mandatory if you believe you may have any injuries or pain following a collision.
If an ambulance is on the scene, let the paramedics assess your injuries. Then, they can offer advice about whether they believe you should see a doctor immediately or if you can go on your own. Either way, you should seek care as soon after the crash as possible if you are injured.
Options for getting care include:
- Letting paramedics take you to the hospital
- Visiting the nearest emergency department
- Seeing your primary care physician
- Going to a walk-in clinic or urgent care
The sooner you see a doctor, the better. Not only does this ensure you get any necessary treatment right away, but it links the injuries with the traffic accident. If you wait several days or weeks to get care, the insurer may later claim your injuries occurred after the crash.
Trusting the Insurance Companies
It is never a good idea to trust an insurance adjuster, even if they work for your insurance provider. While they may seem like they are on your side, they are usually tasked with protecting their company’s bottom line over protecting your rights.
You do not ever need to give a recorded statement to any insurance company. Instead, give them only the most basic facts about the crash: the time, location, and make and model of vehicles involved. Do not include your opinion, what you believe happened, or any other information.
It is a better idea to avoid talking with the insurers at all. Instead, your car accident attorney can handle this process on your behalf. This is especially important because insurance companies are notorious for using statements made by accident victims against them later when they deny the claim, blame them for the accident, or reduce the payout amount.
Trying to Handle Your Case on Your Own
While many people manage their own insurance claims and recover compensation, there is no way to know if they are leaving money on the negotiating table. When you work with an attorney, you have an advocate on your side who understands the claims process and has experience navigating it.
They can develop your case, gather evidence, value the claim, demand justice, and negotiate a settlement while you focus on your physical healing. They can also sue and represent you in court, if necessary.
Most car accident law firms represent clients with no upfront charges. Instead, their attorneys are paid contingency fees. This means they only get attorney’s fees from the settlement or verdict they win. If they do not win, they do not get paid.
Waiting Too Long to Take Legal Action
If you wait too long to take action in a car accident case, you might run out of time. Each state sets a deadline to sue. You will need to negotiate an insurance settlement or begin a lawsuit by this deadline to protect your right to do so. The court will likely bar you from suing and recovering damages if you miss the deadline.
The deadlines vary significantly from state to state. For example, in Louisiana, you may only have one year from the day of the crash under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492. Alabama gives you two years to sue per Ala. Code § 6-2-38. The deadline in Arkansas and Mississippi is three years under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105 and Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49.
Circumstances of the case can also affect these deadlines. For example, if an employee of a government agency driving their work vehicle caused your crash, you might have only a few weeks to begin the claims process. You can learn more about the deadlines in your case during a consultation with our law firm.
Let Us Help You Avoid Costly Mistakes Made After Car Accidents
The Morris Bart law firm provides free case reviews for car accident victims. We review cases from all 15 of our offices within the areas we serve. This includes Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Call (800) 537-8185 to get started.
to find a Morris Bart office near you.