Odds are that you’ve been in an auto accident. Around six million car accidents happen each year, and it’s essential to understand what to do to maximize your claim and keep yourself out of trouble.
All it takes is saying one wrong thing to be labeled “at fault” for your accident, even if you weren’t responsible. Here are ten things to avoid when you have been in an accident:
Never admit fault when you are in an accident, even if you think that you are. The moment you disclose fault to either other parties involved or the police, you are placing the blame on yourself. The less information you give others, the more likely it is to have a better chance of making a successful insurance claim.
Remember, you don’t know the entire story when you are involved in an accident. Other parties involved could have broken traffic laws that you didn’t realize, like speeding, texting, etc.
When the police interview you at the accident scene, don’t take that time to blame someone else for it. You don’t look more innocent when telling officers that it was someone else’s fault, and it hinders the scene investigation. Instead, give an honest account of what happened during the accident without placing blame.
Apologies are excellent in other situations, but you shouldn’t apologize for an auto accident. The moment you apologize to the other parties involved — you give them the potential to blame you for what happened. Instead, do your best to focus on making the situation run as smoothly as possible by reporting the accident and ensuring everyone’s safety.
Also, never lie about what happened during the accident. Your lies will trap you, and there is no way to get out of that hole once you’ve dug it. Whether it’s exaggerating injuries or covering up the fact that you were distracted, false information can potentially void your insurance claim.
You probably have the most helpful tool for making a successful claim in your pocket (or hands) right now — your cell phone. If you are involved in a traffic incident, take pictures of the damage right away and make sure you know where they are. The more evidence you can produce from an accident, the better your chances are of making a claim.
When an accident happens, you may not feel like you are injured, but that doesn’t mean you are uninjured. Stress causes your adrenaline levels to spike after an accident, so you may not notice that you aren’t well.
If you refuse medical attention at the scene, you have no claim to injury later, even if something did occur. Make sure you accept medical attention to ensure an accurate representation of your injuries during the wreck.
After the wreck, if you received medical attention and failed to follow up with your doctor, insurance companies can argue that you made false claims about your injuries. Remember that you need to do everything possible to create a good case for yourself. That includes visiting your doctor to confirm the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Never agree to record conversations when talking to insurance companies about the accident. As soon as you decide to record the conversation, you create a statement insurance companies can use against your case. Instead, contact a lawyer to set up appointments with insurance, so you have protection for your claim.
When you sign papers documenting what happened in the accident, you are bound to the statement. You lose all chance at claiming something else once you’ve signed that statement, even if the information is incomplete. Written statements are an easy way for insurance companies to get out of properly paying for claims.
Paperwork is a guarantee after you are involved in an auto accident. Be sure to consult your lawyer when filling them out to ensure proper completion. Leaving out vital information or making simple mistakes can ruin your chances of having a successful case.
The final and most common way to ruin the possibility of having a successful insurance claim is by refusing to hire a lawyer. When you choose to handle the complexity of an accident on your own, you are bound to make mistakes. Instead, hire a reputable lawyer who specializes in auto accidents to handle your case. Having proper representation will give you the best chance at receiving a fair settlement.
If you or a loved one have been injured physically or mentally during an auto accident, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses. Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%* and we fight to win your case or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate — one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.