If you have been injured in a car accident, it is only natural to be at a loss regarding how to proceed. Every car accident claim is defined by its own unique set of circumstances. There are, however, certain universal mistakes that are easily avoidable. Knowing what they are and how to avoid them will not only help bolster your case but can also help protect your health and well-being.
Mistake 1: Not Calling the Police
If you are in a car accident of any significance, you are obligated to call the police. Many drivers are persuaded by an at-fault driver’s overt request, which can have any number of motivations:
- The driver wants to avoid being ticketed
- The driver wants to avoid going through his or her insurance company
- The driver is impaired
- The driver does not have a valid license and/or insurance
Do not be persuaded. The police will write up an accident report that involves doing a bit of investigating at the scene of the accident. In the process, the officer may assign fault regarding the accident, will take the statements of any eyewitnesses, and will speak to both of you. An at-fault driver is far more likely to speak the truth to an officer at the scene than he or she will be later (after having taken the time to consider the situation). This police report could prove critical to your personal injury claim.
Mistake 2: Allowing the Insurance Company to Record Your Statement Immediately After the Accident
Immediately following a car accident is not a great time to give an official statement about that accident. Yes, you should succinctly and truthfully respond to any questions directed to you by the officer on the scene, but the insurance company is a different story. The fact is that insurance companies are in the business of turning massive profits, and many companies are not averse to minimizing payouts in any way they can, including coaxing the words they want to hear out of unwitting car accident victims.
Mistake 3: Failing to Seek Medical Attention
If you have been in a car accident of any magnitude, it is in your best interests – the best interests of your health and your claim – to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you do not think you have been seriously injured, it is important to recognize that serious injuries can blossom over time – becoming both more serious and more difficult to treat. Not seeking immediate medical treatment can be manipulated by the insurance company to mean that your injuries were not caused by the accident in question.