If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you should be awarded damages not only for the repairs of your car but also for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and any lost wages due to time off of work after the accident. This applies whether you were driving at the time of the accident or whether you were a pedestrian or riding a bicycle in accordance with traffic laws.
Unfortunately, a lot of people make some very common mistakes after they’ve been struck in a car accident that prevent them from collecting all of the damages due them. Some of these mistakes lead to a loss of credibility and a weakened case, while other times the mistake is simply trusting the other party’s insurance company to do the right thing. Let’s walk through some of the mistakes you should avoid if you’ve been hit by another vehicle on the road.
- Failure to Call the Police
The moments after a car accident can be very confusing and disorienting. You might think that it’s enough to just exchange insurance information and phone numbers and then go about your day. However, if you do not call the police and have them file an accident report, there will be some room for doubt as to who was at fault in the accident. This can lead to problems down the road when dealing with the other party’s insurance company and attorneys.
If you are able to, as soon as you have pulled your vehicle out of the way of traffic, call the police to have the situation documented appropriately. This way, should you develop physical problems such as whiplash over the days following the accident, you won’t have to worry about proving that you were not at fault and getting your medical bills paid for.
- Failure to Seek Medical Attention ASAP
You may think that your injuries don’t warrant visiting the doctor after an accident, but there is almost no way that your attorney will be able to gain you any compensation for your pain and suffering if you do not seek medical attention. Furthermore, some injuries do not become apparent until several days (or longer) after the initial trauma of the accident.
If you don’t seek out medical care as soon as possible after an accident, the other party’s insurance company will – without a doubt – cite this as evidence that you were not injured and that you do not deserve recompense. If, then, a medical issue arises related to the accident later, you will be left without recourse.
- Apologizing or Verbally Accepting Blame
Like I said earlier, car accidents can be very disorienting. If you’re a generally sympathetic person, you’re likely going to feel bad for the other driver, as well as for yourself. You may, out of impulse, habit, and/or a sense of trying to be polite, say something like, “I’m so sorry this happened.” You may even say, “It was probably partially my fault.”
If you admit any kind of fault, the other party’s insurance company will use this against you to their fullest ability. You may find yourself on the hook for a lot of expenses if this happens. So, after the accident, keep your mouth shut.
- Failure to Call an Attorney
Finally, you can be absolutely sure that the at-fault party’s insurance company has attorneys on retainer to ensure that they pay out as little as possible in any accident case. This is how they maintain their profits, and they are very good at it.
Unfortunately, a lot of victims of car accidents don’t take this into account when trying to deal with the mess after a car accident. Without an attorney, you’re going to have to handle a lot of paperwork, a lot of red tape, and a lot of phone tag as you try to get the right people on the line to help you handle your claim. They will run you around as much as possible, and they will use their knowledge and your ignorance of the law to give you as little money for your claim as possible.
With a personal injury attorney, you will not pay anything out of pocket. Your payment is based solely on how much you are awarded in damages. And most attorneys offer free consultations with no obligation. Calling an attorney is always a winning decision when you’ve been injured in a car accident.