Car accidents can be traumatic and stressful. The high levels of emotion, along with the physical discomfort of injuries can be overwhelming. Drivers often make mistakes in the critical moments after an accident that can jeopardize insurance settlement outcomes.
This is not a comprehensive list of “don’ts,” but avoiding these common mistakes could make the difference between a settlement that allows you to afford your medical and rehabilitation costs and one that doesn’t. The auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce encourage you to reach out for a free consultation if you are involved in an accident. You may not be in a clear state of mind to make the best choices for your future, but we can help.
#1: Failing to Promptly Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
You probably know that you need to contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to start a claim, but did you know that you also need to report the accident to your insurance company? It may seem counterintuitive to do so; after all, if you were not at-fault, you should not be liable for injuries and damages you sustain as a result of another party’s negligence. However, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you will need to recover damages from your insurance policy.
Reporting the accident to right away leaves less room for your insurance company to later try to claim that your injuries or property damage occurred after the accident. In fact, in some cases, failing to notify your carrier of a potential claim could result in a loss of coverage.
#2: Delaying Medical Treatment
The second common error to avoid after a car accident is underestimating your injuries and not seeking prompt medical attention. Delayed-onset injuries are not uncommon after a car accident. High levels of adrenaline as a result of a collision can mask pain and soreness. Additionally, some injuries may not cause symptoms immediately. Brain injuries and soft tissue damage are two types of injuries that are often unnoticeable immediately after an accident.
The bottom line is that you should not assume you are fine. Instead, seek a medical evaluation in order to treat injuries, rule out other injuries, and receive advice on what symptoms to look out for in the days and weeks after the accident.
Seeking medical attention right away is important, first and foremost, to your health and safety. It is also important in terms of recovering damages for your injuries. If you wait to seek medical attention, an insurance company may argue that your injuries are unrelated to the accident. Your initial medical evaluation is an important part of building your case and securing maximum compensation.
#3: Admitting Culpability
Especially in the immediate wake of an accident, it can be difficult to understand all of the factors that came into play to cause the collision. You are not legally obligated to admit fault, even if you feel you were responsible or partially responsible. Keep your statements to the police focused on facts, and speak with one of our car accident attorneys prior to contacting an insurance company if possible. Remember that if you tell police or insurance investigators that you were at fault, you could waive your right to recover damages.
Schedule your Free Consultation
If you are in a car accident, don’t make the mistake of trying to handle the insurance companies on your own. Our team has the experience and tenacity to stand up to insurance companies who want to deny your claim or pressure you to accept a low settlement offer. We can help you maximize your compensation.
Call us at 706-786-4352 to schedule a no cost, no obligation consultation. We serve clients in the Phenix City, Alabama area and the greater Columbus and Ft Moore (formerly Ft Benning) area of Georgia.