Being injured in a car accident causes all sorts of stress, including physical, emotional and financial stress. Most people want to get their lives back on track as quickly as possible and put the whole ordeal behind them, even if it means taking some losses financially. This blog article focuses on five of the most common mistakes car crash victims make following an accident and why these mistakes can seriously decrease the value of their claims. If you have been involved in a car accident, read these carefully and do not fall into the insurance company’s trap!
Mistake #1 – Not Calling the Police
While it is not uncommon for one or both parties to be hesitant to get the police involved, you should always call the police after a car accident. In fact, reporting the accident to police is required in certain situations. For example, you must report the accident if there were any injuries sustained or if the property damage to any one vehicle is greater than $1,000.
Not only is it required by law to report the accident to police in many situations, but it is helpful to have the police document the crash in the form of an Accident Report. This report will make the insurance claims process much smoother as it has all of the pertinent information about the accident in one place. Also, an Accident Report eliminates any doubt between the parties about the exact time and location at which the accident occurred.
Mistake #2 – Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
Another one of the biggest mistakes auto accident victims make after an accident is believing the insurance company when they are told they must give a recorded statement in order to move the claim forward. Do not let the insurance company fool you! While you may be required to give a recorded statement under the terms of your own personal auto insurance policy if you intend to make a claim under your medical payments or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you do not have to give a recorded statement to the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
Insurance companies often try to obtain a recorded statement shortly after an accident occurs and lock you into statements you make while still caught up in the shock of the crash. It is not uncommon for people to exaggerate the facts of the accident or the extent of their injuries because they think it will help their claim when, in reality, the exact opposite is true. It is also common for people to talk too much and give the insurance company too much information, which in turn, also harms their claim. The best practice is to not agree to give a recorded statement, and instead, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before giving the insurance company any information.
Mistake #3 – Not Going to the Doctor
It is extremely important to seek medical care following an accident, even if you do not feel like you are very injured. Many people have a burst of adrenaline following a crash and do not realize how serious their injuries are until hours, or even days, after an accident. Your health should be your number one priority after being involved in an accident. If you do not see a doctor right after an accident, it gives the insurance company power to argue that you must have been injured in some other way (NOT in the accident) or you would have sought medical care right away. Do not give the insurance company a reason to doubt your injuries! Make sure to see a doctor right away and follow their instructions regarding follow-up care.
Mistake #4 – Admitting Fault of Any Kind
When discussing the facts of the accident, use your words wisely. Insurance companies can take your words out of context and use them against you, so it is important to simply stick to the facts as you remember them and not comment on whose fault the crash was. It is also important to not admit any fault at the scene of the accident. While you may want to be considerate of the other parties involved, even a simple “I’m sorry” can be taken the wrong way, so it is best not to say it at all.
Mistake #5 – Settling the Claim Quickly
It is the insurance company’s job to settle a claim as quickly as possible while paying the least amount of money possible. The quicker they settle a claim, the less risk the company is exposed to. It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to call a car accident victim mere hours after a crash and try to convince them to accept a nominal amount of money in full and final settlement of their claim. Until you know the real extent of your damages, which may not be for quite some time depending upon the severity of your injuries, it is a bad idea to settle your claim. What many people do not realize is that once they accept a settlement, they can never go back after the insurance company for the injuries they sustained in the crash, even if the injuries get significantly worse.
Do not accept a nominal offer from the insurance company just for the sake of putting the whole ordeal behind you. Call an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight to ensure that you are receiving the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, the Groth Law Firm may be able to help. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need on your side to ensure that the insurance companies do not take advantage of you. The team at Groth Law Firm will fight to protect your rights and maximize your recovery. They offer free consultations and are available seven days per week to speak with accident victims, answer their questions and put their minds at ease. Do not fall victim to the ploys of the insurance companies. Call the Groth Law Firm at (414) 375-2030 today!