According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, six million car accidents occur annually in the United States. Since a collision is an emotionally traumatic moment, drivers get a shock to their system and often neglect to take important actions. If you make the wrong decisions at the accident scene, it can harm your prospects of winning the case and get a fair settlement. Additionally, your mistakes may cost you a lot and prevent you from getting the financial compensation for your medical bills, injuries and other intangible losses. Knowing what to do can help you prevent these costly blunders. In this article, we’re discussing the mistakes to avoid following a car accident.
1. Do not leave the accident site
So you got into an accident and started to panic. But remember, you should never leave the accident site. This is a serious offense. Anyone involved in a vehicle collision involving bodily injury, vehicle damage, death, or property damage must promptly halt their vehicle. Depending on the circumstances, escaping could result in huge fines or jail time.
First, it is unethical. Regardless of how minor the collision appears, you must check on the other driver, dial 911 and contact law authorities. Second, it is also criminal in many states and jurisdictions and may cost you thousands of dollars, jail time or being sent to the community center.
2. Never say that you are okay and not injured
The adrenaline rush following an accident is common, which can downplay any minor or significant injuries in your mind. Many drivers may admit that they are not injured following a car collision. However, to be safe, the car accident lawyers at Nicoletlaw.com always advise victims not to pretend they’re fine. This can have 3 possible bad consequences.
- Your injuries might not be minor and need proper medical treatment, which may worsen over time if not addressed.
- Furthermore, a thorough and prompt examination is necessary to link the injuries to the car crash. Telling individuals that you do not require medical treatment may cost you a failed personal injury compensation from the at-fault party.
- The insurance company can exploit your early statements to minimize the severity of your injuries and avoid paying the right settlement.
Simply because you feel fine after an accident does not mean you are. Pay special attention to any sign of discomfort and get medical attention immediately.
3. Never apologize and admit to your fault at the accident scene
While you may feel the urge to apologize and confess fault at the scene of an accident, even if you weren’t wrong, keep in mind that it can cost you your case. Admitting fault at the scene or in a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance company instantly disadvantages you, your insurance company, and your lawyer. Do not accept responsibility and let the insurance companies and police investigate the case to find the at-fault party. Speak the truth. However, avoid phrases like- “It was all my fault.” The insurance companies later use these statements to avoid paying for the right settlement amount.
4. Do not share too much information with the insurance provider of the other company
You should not provide the insurance company with too much information and make no documented statements. Insurance adjusters understand that accident victims are stressed and vulnerable. They will request that you record a statement about what occurred in the accident. However, trusting the adjuster without legal representation can often result in a far lower settlement. It’s best to avoid dealing with them until you’ve spoken with your insurance carrier and the lawyer.
5. You should never miss dialing 911 and calling the police
You don’t know if the accident will have major effects unless you have your body and car evaluated by professionals ranging from police officers and emergency workers to medical personnel. It is important to call the police and file a report. Call 911 even for minor accidents. Even if the police do not issue tickets, their report on file will expedite the claim process, and your lawyer can request the official record. An official police report can assist in establishing the facts, such as what caused the accident, the identities of witnesses, and who was responsible for the accident. Failure to report a collision is also a crime in some states. Additionally, you can’t pursue a claim later without this information.
6. Never agree to a quick settlement offer. It’s a bait
Usually, the insurance company offers personal injury compensation during the first few phone conversations. Insurance companies are not your friend and try to settle the claims for as little as possible. They will certainly offer you an amount which may initially seem as a worthy offer. However, many injured people do not consider the intangible costs that they might face later, such as-
- Medical costs for future treatments
- Income lost due to missed employment
- Physical and mental pain
You cannot reopen your lawsuit after accepting a settlement offer. This is true even if you subsequently discover that your injuries were more serious than you thought or your recovery costs more than expected.
7. You should not discuss your claim on Social Media
It is not a good idea to use social media after an accident. The insurance companies might use any information you disclose for building a case against you. Insurance adjusters frequently use social media to spy on claims. They seek updates and photos that might contradict your claim of being injured.
Imagine a Facebook friend asks you questions about how you’re doing. If you say you’re feeling better, an insurer who reads that post may argue that your injuries aren’t serious.
The largest blunder a car accident victim can make is failing to hire an attorney. If you are considering hiring one, make sure you contact the professional and trust worthy one. A good lawyer as mentioned above can provide you with the resources to file for a claim and get a worthy settlement.