10 Things To Do or Not Do When Involved in an Auto Accident
1. Do Not give a recorded statement or speak to anyone that tries to contact you immediately after your accident: Do not give a recorded statement to anyone until you have consulted with an attorney or if you had time to think carefully about the accident and you are able to adequately describe how the accident happened. If you give a recorded statement to the opposite insurance company or anyone that tries to contact you, it can greatly harm and at times even ruin your entire case. Oftentimes, the insurance adjusters from the other side will repeatedly attempt to call you to obtain information on the case or to check on your injuries, do not get mislead about their intention, which is to try to pin the cause of the accident on you, and or limit the scope of your injuries early on in the case. Whenever that happens, kindly decline and ask for more time before scheduling a recorded statement.
2. Take pictures of the accident site: Following the accident, take photographs of the site and anything involved in the accident. Nowadays, most people carry cellphones equipped with cameras, so taking pictures should not be problematic. If you are on a street with low traffic, and it is safe to do so, try to take pictures on the scene before moving the vehicles on the side of the road.
3. Politely approach any witnesses on site: Politely ask and obtain witness name, phone number, and address. Politely ask and obtain witness name, phone number, and address. Witnesses can often provide crucial information on which party caused the accident. This is especially important because oftentimes each party will have a conflicting account of what took place.
4. Do Not admit responsibility: As much as you may think you are liable and at fault for an accident, there could be specific details that you were not able to see and assess immediately after the accident, so you should stay calm and take time to go over the accident and discuss it with a friend or an attorney.
5. Seek medical attention: The adrenalin rush after an accident may mask your injuries, so even if you don’t feel any pain, injuries might show up later. If you are in need of medical attention on the scene do not hesitate to ask for a paramedic or seek medical attention if the pain develops after the accident. It is very common for the pain not to develop or become apparent until at least several days after the accident.
6. Do Not forget to file an accident report/police report: Insurance companies may ask for a police report of the accident which will help your case. Ensure that your insurance company is filing an SR-1 on your behalf, if not, you can get in trouble with the DMV.
7. Do Not settle your case too early: This is the most common and dangerous mistake that you can make in your case! Settling your case too early means that you cannot come after the other driver or his insurance company for any new damages or injuries from the same accident again. In many situations, the insurance companies attempt to rush you to enter into an agreement or accept a certain amount. That is hardly a good idea. It is never in your advantage to settle unless you know the full extent of your injuries and until you have completed the majority of your treatment, otherwise, what may have seemed like a good settlement early on, may not be sufficient to cover your medical expenses or out of pocket costs. Just make sure that you do not wait too long for the statute of limitations to run out in your state.
8. Choose your own body shop/repair shop: One more common mistake we’ve seen regularly is when people go to the recommended insurance company auto body shops or place of repair. This is problematic at times because you are walking away from choosing a place of your choice and stepping into place that has the insurance company’s interest in mind. This means that they are likely going to do whatever it takes to cut costs, which may include installing used or aftermarket parts, or lower quality paint.
9. Negotiate with your doctor on your first visit: Negotiating with your doctor initially can save you money and prevent confusions about price in the future, or ask for contingency, which is payment based on the success of your case, if you win your case you will decide on a percentage that will be the lawyers fee.
10. Hire an attorney: This is not a sales pitch, but in most situations if you don’t have an attorney, insurance companies will take advantage of the situation and give you a lot less than what you deserve. You don’t have to hire a Law22 attorney but it’s important to hire an attorney that is experienced in dealing with personal injury claims. It is a good idea to research the attorney beforehand and ensure that he or she has the proper skill level and a good reputation.