Auto Accident Claim Mistakes
Did you know that there are more than 5 million auto accidents in the U.S. each year? Unfortunately, car accidents can happen at any time. If you are involved in this type of accident, you are entitled to compensation in case the accident ensued from the other driver’s negligence. However, being involved in an auto accident can elicit trauma, confusion, and heightened emotions. It can cause you to panic and make minor auto accident claim mistakes that can cost you the compensation you need to recover from injuries and damages. Here are some mistakes people often make after a car accident case and how to also avoid them.
1. Not Calling the Police
Don’t allow anyone to persuade you not to get in touch with the police. If you don’t, the insurance companies and the jury may wonder why you didn’t want to ask for a police investigation. Even if it was a small accident and you only have minor injuries, call 911.
When they arrive at the scene, they may collect valuable evidence that can work in your favor. They can look at the scene of the accident, take photos, and track down witnesses. You can also use the police report and statements as a launching point for your car accident claim for recovery.
2. Not Seeking Medical Care Right After the Accident
While you may feel fine, you need to seek medical attention right after the car accident. During the accident, your body can enter into a fight-or-flight mode, causing adrenalin to course through your body. The adrenalin may mask any pain and symptoms until after the accident, so it’s safe to see a doctor.
This can hurt your claim. The insurance company may use that as proof to show you weren’t really injured. In case you start experiencing serious injuries days after the accident, you may not get the compensation you deserve.
Also, don’t exaggerate or downplay your injuries when you see the doctor. If the insurance adjuster finds out you misrepresented your injuries, they may start to doubt your statements and look for ways to drop your car accident injury claim.
3. Saying Too Much at the Scene of the Accident
Emotions can run high after an auto accident. When this happens, people may talk too freely around witnesses and the other people involved in the accident. Be very careful about what you say. Avoid speculating what caused the accident.
Also, apologizing to other people involved is highly inadvisable. It may seem like an admission of guilt and can negatively impact your case. It’s best to avoid communicating with anyone unless it’s to exchange contact and insurance information.
Once a claim has been filed and if you have decided to seek legal representation, your car accident attorney can take over all communication, especially discussions involving compensation.
4. Failing to Gather Evidence
Although the police can collect evidence, sometimes, that isn’t enough. To get an upper hand in your car accident case, collect any evidence that you can at the accident scene. Write down the names and contact information of the other drivers and witnesses. Also, don’t forget to take pictures. Photos and videos can help prove the facts of the case, as well as visually indicate the damage. Images like the following are valuable:
- Your injuries
- Location of the accident
- Your car and the other vehicle(s), including license plate numbers
- Dislodged parts of the cars on the road
- Conditions of the road
5. Believing that the Insurance Adjuster Is on Your Side
After a car accident, you may feel very vulnerable. You need help dealing with your physical and emotional injuries as well as your damages. The insurance agent knows this, and they may try to convince you that they are on your side.
Unfortunately, they are not. Be wary of insurance agents that want to speak to you. Also, don’t give them any recorded statements. Although they may seem sympathetic, they may find loopholes in your statement that will allow them to minimize your payout. Their goal is to look for ways in which they can gain financially from your car accident tragedy.
6. Settling Too Quickly
Insurance companies are always eager to settle your case fast. While it may be tempting to want to solve your case as quickly as possible, the first settlement offer isn’t always the best. The company may offer you what seems like a good amount of money, but it may not be enough in the long run.
You are more likely to get a fair settlement if they believe that you’re serious about going through the claim filing process. When you take the time to build your case, you can convince the insurance agents that you deserve more.
In addition, you can use the time to evaluate the long-term impacts of your injuries and damages. This way, you can be sure of the total amount you need as compensation.
7. Waiting Too Long to File the Claim
There is a time limit for filing a claim after a car accident. No matter how strong your claim is, the court may strip your right to file it if you don’t do it before California’s statute of limitations is passed, which is two years. If you miss the injury claim deadline, you won’t be to recover any compensation.
Also, evidence that is critical to your car accident case can be distorted or lost over time. For example, if your injuries are not documented or treated, it will be difficult to prove you were injured at all.
8. Not Seeking Legal Counsel
Car accident claims can be complicated. That’s why you should consider consulting with an auto accident lawyer before filing a claim. They will help you file the car accident claim documents properly, and they will use their experience to represent you in court if the case needs to go to trial.
They will also protect you from the defendant’s insurance company and attorneys if they try to shift the blame on you for causing the car accident. Most importantly, the right car accident lawyer will improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Avoid These Auto Accident Claim Mistakes
Hiring a lawyer will help you avoid the aforementioned auto accident claim mistakes. At Greenleaf Law Group, we’ve successfully represented thousands of car accident victims and helped them get maximum compensation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.