Over the past 25 years I have handled thousands of car accident cases. During that time I have had clients make some of the same mistakes which have significantly impacted their cases.
Top 5 Most Frequent Mistakes Victims Make Following A Car Accident
If you've been involved in a car accident it's important to know what to do–and more importantly–what not to do immediately following the wreck.
Failing To Take Photos Of The Car Crash Scene
When liability is disputed it is really important to get scene photos of the car accident area. These photographs can depict vehicle locations, leaking fluids, skid marks and other factors which may impact the case. Additionally, one of the arguments I see most often now from the defense relates to the property damage to the vehicles. The insurance adjuster or defense attorney will argue, “No one could have been injured in such a minor accident.” In many rear-end cases there is very little noticeable damage to my client’s vehicle. However, the vehicle which struck them from behind has significant damage which takes this argument away from the insurance company. Take the time to take photographs not only of your own vehicle, but also the vehicle that hit you.
Not Getting Enough Information From The Other Driver Following Your Car Accident
If the police show up to the accident scene this is normally not a problem. However, I can’t count the number of times the person who hit my client says something like, “Here’s my phone number, call me and I will cover the damage to your vehicle. I don’t want to go through my insurance because my rates will go up.” Many well-meaning clients will agree to this, not realizing due to the adrenaline that they have been injured. When they attempt to call the other driver they are significantly less cooperative and you do not have their insurance information, their license plate number or even their full name. Take your camera out at the scene and take photographs of the insurance card and the other party’s license or registration.
Talking To The At Fault Driver's Insurance Company
Most people will report an accident to their own insurance company immediately after the accident. In most cases this is not a problem. However, the driver who caused the accident will provide your information to the other insurance company and they will attempt to contact you. They will try to get a recorded statement from you and try to get you to provide them with access to your medical records. They will even make it sound like you have some legal duty to cooperate with them. You don’t! They will attempt to get you to make admissions regarding fault, and minimize your damages. These recorded statements may, with proper authentication, be used against you in litigation. Don’t do it!
Delaying Medical Treatment After Your Car Accident
People will delay obtaining treatment until the other insurance company takes responsibility for the accident. This can sometime take weeks. Once you have delayed obtaining medical treatment the insurance company will use that against you. They will try to argue you are trying to take advantage of the circumstances or that your injuries occurred from something that happened after the accident at work or in some other setting. If you are not feeling well after the accident seek treatment immediately! Chances are you will not get an immediate settlement from the insurance company and they will never pay your medical bills as you go.
Whatever You Do, Don't Make The Mistake Of Not Contacting A Personal Injury Attorney
Most, if not all, personal injury attorneys provide free consultations. Jones Wilson LLP is happy to do so. If you don’t need a lawyer we will tell you so. Even if that is the case, we are happy to advise you how to handle your car accident case including the property damage and dealing with the other insurance company. In most cases, however, an attorney is necessary to protect you from the insurance company who has one goal – hanging onto their money. Don’t try to navigate your personal injury case on your own. Let Jones Wilson guide you through this process and protect your legal rights.
Please feel free to contact us online or call us directly at 702.405.6000 to schedule your free car accident evaluation.