After being involved in a car accident, it may be difficult to stay level-headed, no matter who was responsible for the crash. Getting injured in a car accident may also impair your judgment and affect your actions, but in California, you may also be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
For that reason, what you do and say immediately after your car accident can, in some cases, make or break your car accident claim. Take a look at the most common mistakes people make following their auto accident.
Apologizing and/or Admitting Guilt
To apologize to the other driver is polite and almost instinctive, especially if the other driver is seriously injured. Still, apologizing can also mean you are admitting fault and can be turned against you in your car accident claim process.
Even if you feel partially responsible for the accident, it’s better to keep it to yourself. Experts will determine who the at-fault party is and what percentage of the accident is your fault. Until the official investigation is concluded, avoid apologizing and/or admitting guilt.
Not Calling the Police
In every car accident, police officers are the ones to give unbiased opinions and report who is responsible for the car accident. So if you fail to call the police, you may end up without a crucial document, a police report, that will allow you to seek compensation through your car accident claim. Your car accident attorney will get nowhere without this document, and everything else you give them is hearsay.
No matter if you’ve had a major car accident or a minor fender-bender, call the police in order to gather complete car accident claim documentation.
Not Taking Any Pictures
If you are in a condition to do so, take pictures, videos and gather any other evidence you can from the accident scene. Take photos of all vehicles involved before the cars are towed and see if you can collect any witness statements if there were any.
In some cases, the other drivers will crash their car and damage it worse than after your car accident. They will then try to blame you for the damage in order to get more money out of their car accident claim. If you want to prevent that, take pictures of all cars involved immediately after your accident.
Not Seeing the Doctor
Never refuse medical assistance, even if you don’t feel any pain after your accident. Some injuries can give first symptoms almost hours or days after the injury has occurred. Get yourself checked by a paramedic and see your doctor for further therapy. Your medical records are a vital document in your car accident claim, and your personal injury attorney will most likely seek to recover compensation for all your medical bills and expenses.
Trusting the Insurance Companies
Whatever amount the insurance company offers you initially, you can bet your claim is worth ten times more. Insurance companies want to make money for themselves, and they won’t do that by giving their money away likely. Consult with your auto accident attorney, and they will be able to tell you exactly how much your claim is worth.
Settling Too Soon
Even if the attorney represents you, do not be swayed by the amount of money the insurance company offers. Instead, listen to what your personal injury attorney tells you and make a conscious decision on whether to ask for more money or not.
Even if the insurance offer reaches tens of thousands of dollars and seems like quite enough, you may risk settling too soon if your claim is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Measure twice, cut once, and before you do, always consult your car accident lawyer.
Not Filing a Claim on Time
In California, a statute of limitations for all personal injuries, including car accidents, is two years from the date of the accident. This is not the only deadline you need to honor in order to be eligible for compensation, but it is the most important one.
However, if you have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side, they will make sure everything is filed in time and proper format.
Can an Auto Accident Attorney Help?
If you’ve already made one of these mistakes, depending on the details surrounding your car accident, a car accident attorney will be invaluable to you. Your claim may not reach its full potential, but with a lawyer by your side you may still have some chances of receiving compensation.
You may not receive what you normally would, if you hadn’t made the mistake, but recovering some damages is way better than recovering nothing at all.