In the event of a car accident, many people are unprepared to take the necessary steps to obtain a favorable outcome in their accident claim or personal injury lawsuit. Unfortunately, mistakes after a collision can prove costly, harming your chances of recovering compensation from the other driver or insurance company—even if the crash wasn’t your fault. If you understand what steps to take and what mistakes can have a negative impact on your case, you could avoid losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The most common mistakes people often make in the aftermath of a car accident include:
- Apologize – While saying “sorry” is appropriate when you accidentally bump into someone while walking, apologizing after a car accident is often considered an admission of being at fault. The at-fault party’s insurance company can use your apology against you, by either reducing your claim or denying it altogether. Even if you believe you caused the crash, you may be incorrect and the other driver involved contributed in some matter—you just don’t know all of the details yet.
- Not contact the police – Many people wish to save time or avoid hassling law enforcement after a car accident. However, an officer can write an objective report of what transpired in the collision. If the other driver attempts to make false claims against you, the police report can provide vital evidence to prevent such a thing and support your claim. Insurers rely on the police report to determine liability.
- Not document the scene – Pictures are considered one of the strongest pieces of evidence in a claim or lawsuit. Again, if the other party disagrees with your side of the story, photographic evidence can refute their claims. When taking pictures with your smartphone, make sure you take as many as your storage capacity allows. Capture the exterior and interior damages to all vehicles involved, the position of each car, the road and weather conditions, and the entire scene in general.
- Not seek immediate medical attention – Even if you were involved in a minor fender-bender, it is imperative to visit a doctor to check and/or treat your injuries. The symptoms of many soft tissue injuries—such as whiplash—do not immediately appear as soon as an accident happens, which means that pain can surface several hours or even days after the accident. Not only can your doctor determine the full extent of your injuries, but can also provide medical documentation for your case. Without proof of injury, the other party’s insurance provider can deny your claim.
- Not hire a lawyer – Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can help you avoid making any costly errors that can affect your case. Your lawyer can handle all of the paperwork, meet all of the deadlines, negotiate with insurers, and help you maximize your accident settlement while you recover from injury.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Pasadena, Tedford & Associates have more than 35 years of experience helping our clients obtain the most favorable results possible. For more information, contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation today.