No one ever expects to get involved in a car accident. They take us by surprise, leaving us in shock and creating a chaotic environment that sometimes makes it difficult for those involved to take the proper steps in the aftermath. What you do after an accident will dictate the tone of your personal injury claim, so it is critical not to make certain errors during this time.
Here are some of the most common mistakes individuals make after an accident, which you should remember to avoid:
- Failing to call the police: Calling the police after an accident is a must, no matter how minor you might think the accident is. You will need them to file a police report, which both your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company will require. Do not assume that you can handle this situation amongst yourselves, especially if you were injured. Injuries and property damage must be reported to the police right away.
- Admitting fault: Oftentimes, at the scene of an accident, people apologize for accidents for which they are not at fault, or try to take responsibility for something they did not cause. Accidents are traumatic experiences and sometimes it just feels natural to suddenly start assuming you did something wrong, but it is imperative that you do not let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, let investigators and your personal injury attorney do their jobs and determine the cause of the accident before you start jumping to conclusions. The last thing you want to do is take the fall for something that was not your fault.
- Saying you or your passengers are okay: Sure, you might not be in need of emergency attention, and perhaps everyone might appear to be okay, but that does not mean no one is injured. People often downplay injuries simply because they do not look serious and are not in need of immediate medical assistance, but an injury can be severe even if you do not have any visual markings like lacerations, bruises, or broken bones. Whatever you do, do not claim that you or your passengers are okay.
- Failing to seek medical attention: If you were severely injured, you should absolutely take an ambulance to the emergency room. However, if you are not, this does not mean you can postpone your visit to the doctor. Take care of all the steps that need your attention at the scene of the accident and, once this is complete, visit your doctor or go to the hospital. He or she will be able to properly examine you and assess the severity of your injuries. This will also create documentation of your injuries and any treatment you receive, which is vital to a personal injury case.
- Giving the insurance company too much information: You are only required to give basic information to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This includes your name, address, where the accident occurred, and when it occurred. You do not need to discuss your doctor visits, the extent of your injuries, or what you do for a living. Giving unnecessary extra information will only do you harm, so do not give in to their requests for detailed information or for a statement.
- Accepting the first offer: The insurance adjuster you speak to will want to settle the case as soon as possible, so you will likely receive a settlement offer early on in this process. However, you do not know the extent of your injuries yet, so do not assume that their offer is enough to cover your medical expenses and property damage. You might later find out that your injuries are much more severe and will require more extensive treatment or physical therapy. Politely decline these offers.
- Using social media sites: Many of us are quite attached to social media and often feel the need to overshare every aspect of our lives. Doing this during a personal injury case is a major mistake, however, so try to avoid social media until your case reaches a resolution. Your posts could end up being used as evidence against you.
- Failing to call an attorney: With a qualified attorney on your side, you are likely to receive 3.5 times more than what you might secure without one. Of course, this is why attorneys do their best to assure you that there is no need to get attorneys involved. It is much easier to take advantage of an injury victim when they are not backed by a legal professional. Protect yourself and seek representation as soon as possible.
Personal Injury Attorney in Phoenix
Accidents happen and, when they do, it is crucial that you take the appropriate steps in the aftermath. Securing experienced and skilled legal representation should be among those critical steps. At the Rafi Law Group, LLC, our team of personal injury attorneys in Phoenix will help you obtain maximum compensation and stand up to the insurance companies on your behalf.
Contact our office today at (623) 300-1151 to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team.