Don’t Make These 4 Car Accident Mistakes
You just got into a car accident. You’re shaky and stressed. You blink, look around, and realize with relief that you seem to be okay, except your neck hurts a little bit.
What do you do next? Be careful, as your choices could affect your ability to secure compensation should you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
1. Underestimating Your Injuries
You feel okay. Nothing is broken. Your neck is hurting a little, but you think you’ll be fine, so you don’t go see the doctor.
This is a bad idea. Many types of injuries take time to show up. The adrenaline pumping through your body masks the pain and other symptoms, which will become noticeable a few hours later when you feel calmer.
Also, some injuries like whiplash, concussion, and back pain are likely to get worse with time. If you fail to get medical attention right after the accident, an insurance company can argue that you weren’t hurt, even if you were.
Seeing a doctor immediately will help prevent any questions later.
2. Admitting Fault
The accident occurred quickly. You don’t remember exactly what happened. You get out of the car and apologize to the other driver.
Unfortunately, your good intentions can be interpreted as an admission of fault, which can prevent you from winning compensation later on. An insurance company may argue that your speeding must have caused the accident. Otherwise, why would you apologize?
Instead, let the police do their job in determining what happened. Answer their questions but don’t reveal more than you need to. When in doubt, contact a car accident attorney to help you through the process.
3. Failing to Document What Happened
If you decide to seek compensation for your injuries later, you’re going to need evidence to back up your claims. If you leave the scene of the accident without getting that evidence, your case won’t be as strong as if you take a few minutes to gather some information.
First, take photos if at all possible. Get pictures of the automobiles, the area where the accident occurred, and any injuries that may be on your person. If there are witnesses, try to get their names and contact information. Then as soon as you have a moment, write down everything you remember from the accident. This is for your purposes only but can help you when you’re discussing the accident with your car accident lawyer.
4. Talking to the Insurance Company On Your Own
With most minor accidents, you’ll probably be fine handling the insurance company on your own. If you have significant injuries, however, this is a bad idea.
Insurance adjusters have a reputation for trying to decrease the value of your claim. They work for the insurance company, so they don’t have your best interests at heart. They may offer a settlement that is significantly less than what you are entitled to, or may ask you to sign something before you understand exactly what you’re signing.
A car accident attorney works for you. He or she will help guide you through the process, ensure your rights are protected, and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.