If you can avoid the most common pitfalls of car accident victims, it can make it easier to build a strong claim, seek justice, and recover compensation based on the facts of your case. On the other hand, saying the wrong thing could jeopardize your right to pursue a fair settlement from the at-fault motorist and their insurer or sue in civil court.
Working with a collision attorney near you will also help you avoid many common mistakes after a car accident. They will manage your case, offer advice, answer questions, and take steps to protect your rights.
What Mistakes Do Car Accident Victims Often Make?
By understanding how traffic accident victims commonly hurt their own cases, you can avoid doing the same thing. Some of the common mistakes that could jeopardize your financial recovery include:
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Not Notifying the Police
When you are in a traffic accident, you should call 911 or another emergency line and ask a police officer to come to the scene. This is true even if you do not believe you have any significant injuries. The police report will become key evidence in your claim, so you want it to be accurate, thorough, and trustworthy.
You may be able to win a case when the accident report does not present the facts correctly, but it makes it more difficult. Having this report completed at the scene by an officer will likely bolster your claim.
Not Getting Prompt Medical Care
Too many crash victims underestimate their injuries. As a result, they may not have any serious concerns immediately following an accident, so they do not see a doctor. This can be dangerous in several ways:
- You may have serious injuries that will not be symptomatic until later
- It could delay getting treatment for your injuries
- It could hurt your case for compensation
Getting a doctor’s assessment as soon as possible to diagnose or rule out injuries is vital to both your health and your compensation case.
Waiting Too Long to Act
You should act quickly every step of the way in a car accident case. See a doctor within 12 to 24 hours when possible. Begin gathering evidence immediately if possible and consult with an attorney quickly.
Not only will evidence begin to disappear within hours or days, but there are also strict deadlines in these cases. For example, you must sue before time runs out. This could be as little as one year in Louisiana (La. Civ. Code Art. 3492), two years in Alabama (Ala. Code § 6-2-38), or three years in Mississippi (Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49) and Arkansas (Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105).
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Saying Too Much to the Insurer
Remember, the insurance company is not on your side. This is true even when you are a policyholder. Never tell an insurance company that you are not hurt or only have minor injuries, and do not admit fault.
Only provide them with basic information, and always refuse to give a recorded statement. You do not have to consent to the company recording your conversations.
Failing to Gather Evidence when Possible
If your injuries allow, you should collect as much evidence as possible immediately following the crash. This includes taking pictures of each vehicle and its position, gathering witness statements (on video when possible), and documenting the crash scene.
All this evidence could play a role in your claim or at trial later. Unfortunately, some of this proof will disappear forever as soon as the tow trucks take the cars from the scene.
Agreeing to the First Settlement Offer
Insurers often send a settlement offer to an accident victim early on. While this offer may look like a lot of cash at the time, you can feel confident that your case is worth much more. The insurance adjuster is hoping you will accept this without knowing the value of your claim.
You should never settle unless your injuries are healed, and you understand your treatment and care-related expenses. You may also need to work with experts to determine your future care costs if you have lasting injuries. The best way to avoid this mistake is to never sign anything from the insurer without having an attorney review it.
Posting About Your Accident on Social Media
When you post about your collision on social media and talk about it widely, you only give the insurers more to investigate. This will never help your case, but it could hurt it. It is a good idea to take a break from social media during this time or avoid posting anything about the crash or your current activities.
Handling Your Claim on Your Own
Personal injury lawyers work based on contingency. They get paid attorney’s fees only if they recover compensation for their clients. This makes it possible for anyone to afford an attorney to manage their car accident case. Handling your claim on your own could mean additional stress and uncertainty for you.
Morris Bart, LLC, Provides Complimentary Consultations for Car Accident Victims
At the Morris Bart law firm, our team offers free case assessments to collision victims in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We have 15 locations to serve you.
Call (800) 537-8185 today to speak with a team member for free.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
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