Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto AccidentNovember 17, 2010
Last week’s blog focused on ways to avoid an auto accident. However, even if you’re a careful driver, you may find yourself involved in a collision. When faced with a sudden, frightening experience like a car accident, your nerves run high and your mind whizzes. Perhaps you are injured or your vehicle has been badly damaged. Maybe the next step isn’t clear, even whether to move the vehicles out of the roadway. In all this commotion, it can be easy for you, as an accident victim, to inadvertently say or do something that could harm your claim. Here are some ways to avoid common mistakes following your car accident.
STATEMENTS ON THE SCENE
Do not admit fault. Even if you believe you caused the accident, never admit fault. The truth is, you may think you caused an accident that was legally not your fault! Determining liability is a complex process the insurance companies will make based on all the evidence and circumstances surrounding the collision. Admitting fault can only work against you.
Do not say you’re uninjured. Injuries, especially soft-tissue damage, often take time to manifest. If you have suffered such injuries, you may not feel pain until several days after the accident. Instead of saying you’re fine or uninjured, you should say you’re not sure how severe your injuries are and that you will need to follow up with a doctor—and do just that. Visit the doctor as soon as possible after the accident, ideally the same day or at least the following day, and be vigilant about any follow-up appointments.
Do not give your opinions. When giving information about the collision, stick to the facts as you remember them. If you do not know or remember all the facts, make sure to say that, too. If you state opinions or beliefs about the situation, the insurance companies are liable to hold those against you as if they were facts.
DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
You are not obligated to cooperate with the opposing insurance company, which means you do not have to—and in fact, should not—provide a recorded statement, in case you say something potentially damaging to your claim. You are, however, obligated to report the claim to your own insurance company in a timely manner and to give a recorded statement at your insurance company’s request.
COMPENSATION FOR YOUR INJURIES
If your auto accident left you injured, remember, the insurance companies want to settle your claim as quickly as possible while offering you as little monetary compensation as possible. Settling directly with the insurance companies is probably not in your best interests, because you may not have fully recovered from your injuries or you may not have been offered adequate damages for your pain and suffering. This is where an experienced auto accident attorney can help.
The auto accident attorneys at Hornberger & Brewer have years of experience on their side to manage your unique auto accident case. Our professional staff will fight for your rights after an auto accident and will work hard to earn you the compensation you deserve. Trust Hornberger & Brewer to ease you through this stressful time and help you come out on top.
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