Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
So you’ve just been in a car accident. Thoughts are rushing through your mind and you’re a bit confused on what to do next. But what happens in the next couple of minutes could affect you for months, years, or the rest of your life. We’ve talked before about what to do after an accident, but to help you steer clear of the worst, here’s a look at what not to do.
Don’t assume you’re not injured.
Never say you’re “okay” or assume you’re not injured. In many cases, an injury might not manifest until much later. It’s fine if you don’t need an ambulance, but outwardly state it as “I don’t need an ambulance at this time.” If you do end up talking to first responders, let them know exactly how you feel, even if the pain or discomfort is minor. Remember, you might be in shock, which has a way of masking pain. Always make sure to see a doctor after an accident, as soon as you possibly can. Lastly, if you have apparent injuries, get to the E.R. right away.
Don’t delay taking action.
If you need legal help on your side, waiting can hurt you. Try taking care of things as soon as possible, including getting medical care, starting the investigation of the accident, seeing a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento and getting your suit filed.
Try not to assume the insurance company is on your side.
Put simply, they’re not. Their goal is to pay you as little money as possible. Avoid assuming fault and don’t go into details about your injuries. If they ask to record the statement, decline. In fact, it’s best not to talk to the insurance company at all until you have a lawyer on your side.
Call the police.
Always get the police involved so that they can create an accident report. This establishes the documentation you need if you do need to take legal action. Without it, your chances at compensation are significantly reduced.
Never say it’s your fault.
No matter who you’re talking to – the police, the other driver, witnesses, an insurance rep, anyone – never say it’s your fault. Things can get confusing, especially after an accident, but don’t let the heat of the moment pressure you into saying something you don’t mean or that isn’t true.
Be thorough; Gather evidence.
Get your facts and proof together right away. That means gathering names and contact information of witnesses and snapping accident shots with your smartphone.
Don’t take a quick settlement from your insurance.
Once you accept a settlement, your case can not be re-opened. So if your insurance company offers you a quick solution, don’t take it. It may not be the best deal. Remember, you shouldn’t even be dealing with the insurance company – that’s your lawyer’s job.
Don’t sign papers the insurance company gives you.
They’re your insurance company, not your friends. Signing papers they give you after an accident can limit your chances at the compensation you deserve. Avoid signing releases, medical authorizations, and other paperwork they push toward you. Always talk to your lawyer first.
Avoid posting accident details on social media.
Car accidents in Sacramento are common, which means people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of people giving personal information about what happened to them during their incidents. Your insurance company can use this information against you. Avoid putting any information about your accident — even the most basic things — on social media.
Don’t turn down legal help; get an attorney!
Your insurance company, other drivers, and even the police are not necessarily on your side when it comes to accidents. You need someone who will work on your behalf, for your best interest, after an accident. Only an attorney will be able to do that. Contact one right away if you’re in an accident.
If you have any questions about your car accident or want to learn more about how a personal injury attorney can help you, call our offices at (916) 863-2900 for a free consultation.