When you aren’t sure what to do after an accident, your best bet is to call on an attorney to learn more about your legal options. Below, we look at some of the mistakes an attorney can help people avoid.
After a car wreck, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. The force of the impact alone is enough to send your head spinning. The stress of what follows mounts on top, leaving many people reeling or in shock.
Unfortunately, that also means a lot of people make seemingly small mistakes that have a negative impact on their claims. If it’s your first car accident, that leaves you particularly vulnerable.
Let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes people make after an accident.
#1 Not Working with Law Enforcement
When someone else causes a car accident, they might ask that you not call the police. Often, people will claim that calling the police is extreme, especially if everyone seems fine after the collision.
However, this is a huge mistake. It is essential that you call local law enforcement to the scene of the accident so that they can put together a police report. This report details the situation and provides a foundation for your claim. When the officer arrives, they conduct their own investigation and put together notes about what happened.
In some accidents, they also state who they believe is at fault. Additionally, the report details the names and information of the drivers and witnesses. If someone violated the law, they might also issue a citation.
In some states, it is mandatory to call the police after an accident.
#2 Waiting Too Long to File
Another common mistake to avoid is procrastination. Too often, people put off filing a claim after an accident. In many cases, they feel overwhelmed and don’t want to make a decision right away. However, it’s important to act quickly. If you wait too long, it can hurt your claim. This is especially true if you put off seeking medical care. Not only does this put your health at risk, it gives insurance adjusters an opening to say your injuries aren’t related to the accident.
That puts your entire case in jeopardy.
#3 Accidentally Admitting Fault
After accidents, people want to downplay their injuries or even apologize when it’s not their fault. This is especially true in the American South, where hospitality gets the best of drivers. However, these seemingly innocuous statements can have a negative impact on your claim. Consider this situation.
Another driver rear-ends you. Initially, you might think it’s your fault and apologize for stopping too quickly. This statement puts you at fault. However, it’s entirely possible that the other driver wasn’t paying attention, following you too closely, and didn’t notice that you stopped. Still, the apology has the potential to hurt your claim.
For insurance adjusters, these statements can act as an admission of fault.
#4 Accepting a Lowball Offer
Often, insurance companies try to settle claims quickly with lowball offers. Their goal is to take advantage of the situation and have you accept an offer that seems good at the surface. Unfortunately, without a thorough analysis of your damages, you don’t really know what a good settlement looks like.
After a car accident, it’s important to evaluate your expenses to understand what kind of compensation you need to move forward with your life. While the initial offer might seem fine, minor injuries can worsen and become expensive to deal with. If you accept a low offer, it leaves you dealing with those medical bills on your own.
Working with an Attorney Helps You Avoid Mistakes
Other drivers and insurance providers may try to convince you that there’s no need to involve a lawyer. Don’t listen to them. Instead, pay attention to the statistics because they show that a victim with an attorney tends to receive three times more for a settlement than those without representation.
Even in a seemingly minor accident, an attorney is there to help you understand your rights. Moreover, many lawyers offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing until they win your case.