Understanding the top mistakes that hurt your car accident claim in Birmingham may be able to help you avoid them and secure a fair and just settlement based on the injuries and damages you suffered. Understanding your rights and legal options are the keys to getting the compensation you deserve after a crash.
One of the best ways to protect your rights, reduce your stress, and ensure you navigate the claims process properly after a Birmingham crash is to work with a personal injury lawyer. Most provide free consultations for crash victims and work with clients based on a contingency fee.
What Mistakes Cost Car Accident Victims the Most?
The goals of any car accident victim are to get justice, hold the at-fault driver legally responsible, and recover compensation for the costs and losses they incurred. Getting a fair and just settlement, though, requires knowing what to do—and the mistakes that could cost you thousands. Some of the biggest mistakes we see crash victims make include:
Not Calling Police
Do not let the other party talk you out of calling the police and filing a police report. Not only is it legally required under Ala. Code § 32-10-5 if there were any injuries, but insurance companies generally require a report before paying any type of claim. This is true for property damage claims based on your own collision coverage, in addition to auto liability claims for medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages.
Not Getting Prompt Medical Attention
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after your collision. Not doing so can allow injuries to get worse, prolong your recovery, and even jeopardize your legal case. The at-fault driver and their insurer may not take your injuries seriously if you waited days or even weeks to seek treatment. They may even claim you were hurt in some other way if you wait too long to see a doctor about your crash injuries.
Apologizing or Taking Responsibility
Never, ever say an accident was your fault. This extends to apologizing for a crash or taking responsibility for any aspect of what happened. Many people may accidentally say they are sorry or make other statements that could be misconstrued as admitting fault. If you believe this could happen to you, it is better that you refrain from speaking with others involved as much as possible.
Talking to the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer
We advise our clients never to speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. No good can come from these conversations. They can get all the information they need from the police report and do not need a recorded statement or other information from you. When interviewing victims, they are hoping to learn something they can use to reduce the value of the claim, and this is often effective.
Accepting an Initial Settlement Offer
Sometimes, an insurance company will approach a victim quickly after a crash with a settlement offer. Never accept this or any other initial offer from an at-fault driver’s insurer. This generally occurs before your injuries are healed and before you know how much your case might be worth.
We recommend taking any offer you receive from an insurer to a personal injury attorney. They can help you understand the potential value of your case and whether the offer considers your economic and non-economic losses.
Not Acting Fast Enough
There is a limited time to recover compensation for a Birmingham crash. The Alabama statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits establishes this timeline. You generally only have up to two years to file your complaint under Ala. Code § 6-2-38.
Missing this deadline could make it impossible to negotiate a fair settlement and bar you from taking action in a Jefferson County civil court. There are exceptions that may shorten the deadline.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Avoid These Mistakes by Working With an Attorney
When you work with a car accident attorney on your case, you will not have to worry about any of this. From the time you ask the lawyer to handle your claim or lawsuit, they will protect your rights and navigate the process to pursue compensation for you.
Your lawyer will handle any necessary communications with the other party, insurance companies, and even the court, if necessary. They will represent your best interests and ensure you do not have to speak with an insurance adjuster or deal with any premature offers. They will develop your claim, value your damages, and demand a fair settlement.
Speak With a Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
You can talk to a lawyer from the Morris Bart law firm’s Birmingham office for free today. We help clients protect their rights and seek the compensation they deserve based on the facts of their case. We are here to help if you were hurt in a Jefferson County crash. Reach out to our team to learn more.
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