There is often a lot of confusion and uncertainty after a car crash. Victims are not only uncertain right after the crash, but in the days and weeks that follow. They are also dealing with significant injuries and mounting medical expenses.
These are all reasons why crash victims often make mistakes that end up hurting the value of their claims. Our experienced Lafayette auto accident lawyers discuss some of the common mistakes made by crash victims below.
If you have any questions about legal options after being injured in a car crash caused by another driver, give our firm a call today. An initial consultation is free of charge.
Deciding not to Call the Police
You may not think your accident is that big of a deal, but how can you really be sure? Your injuries could get much worse in the coming days.
If you do not call the police, they will not come to the scene and draft a report and there will be no official record of the crash. The insurance company is sure to use that against you. Some insurance companies require a police report to file a claim for compensation.
Additionally, it is important to note that in some cases, you are required to call the police after a crash, such as when the crash resulted in injury, death or $500 worth of property damage.
Not Trying to Collect Evidence if You are Able
It is important to emphasize the most important thing after a crash is seeking medical treatment. However, once you leave the scene, it is probably going to be cleaned up to some extent. Even if you or your lawyer return to the scene it is probably not going to look the same as it did right after the crash.
That is why crash victims should try to collect evidence at the scene, if they are physically able to do so and would not be putting themselves in harm’s way. For example, taking pictures with your smartphone can be an important step. When possible, talk to witnesses about what they saw and maybe even jot down what you remember about the crash before you forget.
Not Going to Hospital Right Away
Maybe your injuries are not that serious. However, you should let a doctor tell you that and not make an assumption about the severity of your injuries, and you should do this right after the accident. If you wait to seek treatment, your injuries could get worse, and you could prolong your recovery period.
Waiting to seek treatment also gives the insurance company room to dispute the connection between the crash and your injuries. They may say you were hurt because of something besides the crash, otherwise you would have gone to the hospital right away. By seeking treatment immediately, you are showing you take the situation seriously. This may help strengthen your case.
Oversharing Details with the Insurance Company
It is often best to simply refer the insurance company to your attorney, as your attorney should be focused on protecting your claim. If you say too much to the insurance company, you could end up hurting your case. For example, you could say something that sounds like you are downplaying your injuries. Simply saying, “I will be OK” could give the insurance company reason to deny or devalue your claim.
You also run the risk of admitting fault for the crash. For some reason, crash victims often think they are partially at fault for the accident. They feel the need to apologize or downplay the crash. You may start to feel comfortable talking to the insurance company because they seem friendly.
However, it is always important to remember the insurance company only cares about saving money. They are looking for some way to either deny your claim or pay less than the full value of your damages.
Not Fighting a Traffic Ticket
Sometimes crash victims are partially at fault for an accident, which is why the responding police officer issues them a traffic citation. However, you may be able to get this ticket dismissed if you fight it.
Review the situation with your lawyer and ask what he or she thinks you should do. Attorneys deal with these issues regularly and should be able to help you better understand your options. If you can get a ticket dismissed, you may increase the value of your claim as it may be harder for the insurance company to assign fault to you.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer
It is certainly tempting to accept the first offer made by the insurance company. You need the money to pay your medical bills and help make up for lost income from time missed at work.
However, it is important to understand the initial settlement offer is often far below the full value of your claim. The insurance company is only making an offer so quickly because they think you are desperate for compensation. They know the longer the claims process goes on, the more your claim is likely to be worth.
An experienced lawyer is likely to be able to recover significantly more compensation than the insurance company is offering. That is because most lawyers wait until the victim reaches maximum medical improvement. At this point, doctors and your lawyer will have a much better idea of the full value of your damages.
Contact Galloway Jefcoat Today for Help with Your Crash Claim
Have you been injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver?
Our firm is prepared to help you seek the maximum compensation available. While we understand compensation cannot change what happened, it is vital to your recovery process. Without full compensation this situation can quickly turn into a financial crisis.
There are no upfront costs or fees with our services. Our attorneys do not get paid for representing clients unless our clients get paid first.
Give us a call today to learn more about how we may be able to help.
Galloway Jefcoat. No Upfront Fees. Call (337) 984-8020.