If you have been injured due to a car accident, then you might be suffering physically, emotionally, and even financially, and you might be entitled to financial compensation. Under the law, a person might be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, and also an entitlement of no fault benefits which can include; payment of medical bills, lost wages, and more. However, insurance companies will do everything they can, to limit or prevent you from recovering a fair compensation.
Therefore, it’s important you know right from the start, what you should, and what shouldn’t do, after an accident. So, to ensure that all of your rights as a victim are respected, and that your chances of getting a fair compensation for your damages stay intact, here are the 10 most common mistakes that can ruin your accident claim;
1. Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
Seeking immediate medical attention after an accident is vital for your health, and will also come in handy when you decide to pursue a lawsuit. This is mainly because the other negligent party that caused the car accident, or the insurance company/adjuster might claim that you weren’t really injured or hurt in the accident, and that the injuries you have were caused somewhere else. Visiting the doctor after the car accident will prevent such bogus claims, and will act as factual evidence that the injuries you sustained were actually as a result of the car accident. After an accident, there are many victims who tend to disregard the cuts and/or bruises, thinking that such injuries are insignificant. You should know that not all the injuries are visible or external. Fractured bones, damaged muscles and internal bleeding may go undetected by the naked eye immediately after an accident. However, when you get back home, or even some days later, the internal injuries may arise, and can cause a lot of pain and additional medical expenses. Therefore, it is very important to take medical treatment very seriously following a car accident. Regardless of how minor the injuries may seem, make sure you seek immediate medical attention, and receive a thorough medical check up.
While visiting the doctor after the injury, make sure you answer all the questions honestly. Do not try to conceal your previous illnesses or injuries, which could impact on the quality of medical care you receive, and even harm your lawsuit. If you give the doctors partial or false information, you will be giving the insurance companies valid grounds to have the doctor’s opinions invalidated in the court of law. Also make sure you follow through all the appointments. If you fail to do so, you could actually allow the negligent/liable party, to shift the responsibility of the injuries onto you.
2. Not Seeking a Permanent Impairment Rating
When visiting the doctor, it is important you discuss how the injuries will affect you in the long run, and whether the injuries will affect your overall ability to work in the future. There are some injuries which can make walking, sitting, or/and lifting difficult. This might diminish your ability to carry out some routine tasks. Some car accident victims might even have a lingering back pain and such other symptoms for several years after the accident. Therefore, it is crucial you ask your doctor to evaluate you for what is known as permanent impairment rating. Having a documented rating, greatly increases the personal injury compensation.
3. Not Documenting What Happened at the Scene of the Accident
Documentation is among the most important pieces of evidence which can greatly help your lawsuit, and prove the key details of the accident. You should take photos of your injuries, and also the car damages. Also, depending on the nature of your injuries, you can take photos of your healing progress, or whenever you have surgery. This is an important tool to show the jury and the insurance adjusters, and will help explain just how tough things have been since the car accident. You should also get the witnesses names, addresses, and contact information.
4. Not Contacting a Lawyer/Attorney Immediately
Immediately following a car accident, contacting a professional and reliable car accident lawyer is crucial. While you might think that you are capable of handling the accident case on your very own, or that the claims, and the evidence are very obvious, having proper legal representation can be actually the single most important thing you do, in getting a fair compensation. If you sustain serious injuries as a result of the accident, proper legal representation is vital to protecting your individual rights, and ensuring you receive a full compensation for all your injuries. A reliable auto accident attorney has the knowledge, expertise and experience to handle and negotiate with the insurance companies, help you navigate through the delicate legal processes, and even represent you in a court of law if your case happens to go to trial. Without professional legal representation, recovering from a car accident can be very overwhelming. Do not make such a critical, yet simple mistake after a distressing accident. Make sure you contact an experienced auto accident lawyer/attorney right away.
5. Talking to the Insurance Company Without the Advice of Your Attorney
Be very cautious of the insurance adjusters. The insurance adjusters will take advantage of you, if you aren’t careful after the accident. They are trained to get certain information from victims so as to decrease the actual value, or even eliminate the claim. If the liable party’s insurance adjuster want you to sign anything, or want to get any statement from you in regards to the accident, it’s best you contact your attorney first, so as to ensure your individual rights are fully protected. Any statements taken by the insurance adjuster, may be used to invalidate your case. Never talk to them, and never sign anything without the advice of your attorney.
6. Posting on Social Media
Today, most insurance companies normally search the web for information which can invalidate your particular claim. In case you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platforms, do not post any photos or details of the accident and injuries. You should also remove any previous posts which could limit your claim. The smart thing to do, is to stop using the social media platforms til your case comes to a conclusion.
7. Accepting a Quick Payout
You may think that this is the simplest and best way of settling the matter, but you could actually be losing out on a great chance of getting a huge settlement. Accepting a quick payout normally comes with a valid release which prevents you (the victim) from ever seeking any more money, regardless of just how serious your injuries get later on. If you do not have an attorney representing you, some insurance agents will try to make you to accept a quick and easy settlement check after the car accident. They normally send a check within a few days after the accident, along with a document full of legal jargon and instructions (a release) which you need to sign and return. Never fall for that trick. If you accept the check, you will lose any right you have to make claims later.
8. Using the Repair Shop Which Was Recommended By the Insurance Company
Since insurance companies are always trying to save as much money as they possibly can, they normally refer victims to repair shops which they know will do the repairs at a cheap price. You’re under no obligation whatsoever to use the repair shop recommended by them. If you do, you might find out that you were cheated out of the actual full repair value. Make sure you get at least 3 estimates, and then choose the repair shop you fully trust.
9. Not Making a Police Report
Regardless of how minor the injuries seem, it’s very important you contact the police and report the car accident. The accident report is crucial and can be used in the accident claim, especially if the liable party tries to deny that they were at fault..
10. Declining Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you don’t currently have the uninsured motorist coverage, make sure you get it now. There are many drivers who are uninsured, and if such a driver happens to hit you, you might be covered by your own uninsured motorist policy.
Want To Avoid These Mistakes? Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer To Help You!
The best way of avoiding these common mistakes, is by consulting an experienced personal injury attorney. Well, even if you have already made some of the aforementioned mistakes, it is not too late, you can contact a car accident attorney to help you out. While you might now have some limitations on just how much you will be able to recover, all is not lost. Contact one of our attorneys today, and schedule a free confidential consultation.