Last month we shared a blog post we wrote concerning important things you should always do after a car accident. In this blog post, our Pasadena car accident attorneys explain four things you should never do if you have recently been in an automobile crash.
1. Accept Your First Settlement Offer
If you have recently been hurt and/or suffered property damage as the result of a car crash, chances are you need money and you need it now. However, auto insurance companies know the financially difficult situation their clients are often in after a wreck, and many of them will sadly use this to their advantage.
While you should definitely inform your insurance carrier of your accident right away, never accept the first settlement offer you receive. The insurance company is likely trying to trick you into accepting a quick settlement that is worth a lot less than you deserve.
This tactic is especially devastating for people who have suffered severe injuries, as these often require extensive treatment and potentially long-term or permanent care even after leaving the hospital. Such care can be expensive and ongoing, but once you accept an insurance settlement, your case will be closed. That means, if you later end up discovering you need more money to cover all your expenses, you are out of luck.
Injuries often take days to fully manifest themselves and there is no telling how much treatment will be required to recover. The only way to truly understand how much your case is worth is to wait until you have recovered to the best of your ability and your doctor has determined you have reached the point of maximum medical improvement. If someone offers you money prior to that point, don’t take it.
2. Give a Written or Verbal Statement to Insurance Companies
Car insurance companies will often reach out to people who have been in an accident as soon as possible following the crash because they know that individuals tend to be vulnerable at that time. This is the case even for insurance companies that aren’t your own.
When an accident happens that you did not cause, you can file an insurance claim against and/or sue the at-fault driver. However, that same motorist’s insurance company knows you are coming after them, so they will try to get you first. One tactic that is sometimes employed is an insurance agent calling and feigning concern for your condition when really they are hoping to lure you into a false sense of security so that you will reveal something they can use against you.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company tries to contact you, do not speak to them. If you have a lawyer, tell them your attorney will be in touch shortly—otherwise, just hang up. You have no obligation to speak with the insurance company of the motorist who you were involved in an accident with. Don’t do it.
3. Admit Fault or Place Blame
As mentioned above, anything you say after an accident can be used against you. This includes saying you are sorry after an accident. Even if you are just apologizing out of habit or to be polite, this can be taken as an admission of fault.
Alternatively, if you get hit by a car and start screaming at the at-fault driver that it’s their fault and you’re going to sue, your conduct may be misinterpreted by police as guilt, or used by the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make you seem unhinged. It is always best to let your lawyer do the talking.
4. Underestimate Your Injuries
Due to the shock of a car accident and the adrenaline that starts flowing through our bodies in the aftermath, it is possible to feel minimal pain after an accident. However, as time passes and the adrenaline wears off, what were mistakenly thought to be minor injuries can reveal themselves as serious.
For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention after an accident even if you think your injuries appear minor or you feel little to no pain. This is normal, so the only way to accurately be assured of your health is to visit a doctor and receive a thorough examination.
Your doctor can prescribe you medications for your injury, which can help ease the amount of pain you will feel in the days following the accident, when the pain is often at its worse. Also, your doctor can help document your injuries, which will be important for your case.
Bonus: Contact an Attorney
Don’t try to handle your car accident claim on your own. If you have been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and suffered serious injuries and/or are dealing with a complicated claim (the at-fault driver refuses to accept fault, for instance), having an attorney on your side will not only make things so much easier for you, but it will also increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation. Contact our firm to learn more.