5 Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto Accident: Protect Your Right to Compensation
In previous blog posts, we have discussed the importance of understanding your rights after an auto accident, including your right to pursue a personal injury claim and a recovery of your damages – which include any medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages you sustained as a result of the accident. While understanding your rights is part of the process, knowing how to protect them and take the right steps toward a full and fair recovery is of the utmost importance.
At Hare Wynn, our personal injury lawyers fight for victims injured in all types of preventable auto accidents – from wrecks caused by negligent motorists to accidents caused by trucking companies that violate critical safety regulations. By leveraging decades of experience and extensive insight into the ways insurance companies handle car accident claims, we’ve been able to effectively guide clients through their legal journeys, and secure the compensation they deserved.
Because your actions have a direct impact on your ability to recover financial compensation, our legal team wants you to know what mistakes you should avoid after a car accident. These include:
- Not Calling Police – Contact with law enforcement is not high on everyone’s list, but it can be a critical step after an auto accident. By calling 911 and having a police officer respond to the scene of your accident, you not only provide an opportunity for emergency services to attend to any seriously injured victims, but also protect your rights in the event you choose to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. That’s because police can collect important information from any drivers and passengers involved in an accident, as well as witnesses who may have seen what led to a crash. This information can be compiled into a formal police report, which can serve as an important piece of evidence as to what happened and who can be held at fault.
- Failing to Collect All Relevant Information – While it can be difficult to remember that you need to exchange all relevant information with other involved parties after a crash, doing so is critical to protecting your rights. If you are able to do so, be sure to collect all contact information from other drivers and passengers involved (as well as witnesses if any are present). You should also exchange insurance information and take pictures of vehicles, license plates, the accident scene, and driver’s licenses. This information can provide critical evidence your attorney can use to determine an underlying cause and prove fault and liability. It can also ensure you are able to locate the at-fault party if you choose to file a claim.
- Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention – After any type of auto accident, your top priority should be your health and safety. Whether you were attended to at the scene by emergency medical personnel, transported to a local hospital, or walked away from a crash, you will want to seek medical attention and follow ups from a doctor as soon as possible. Doing so can ensure your injuries are accurately diagnosed and that you can begin the treatment or procedures needed to recover. Timely medical attention is also a critical component of your accident claim, as waiting too long to see a doctor and begin treatment is something that insurance companies will be quick to highlight as an indication you were not really hurt in a wreck – even if you were in pain and suffering all along.
- Waiting Too Long to File a Claim – After an auto accident, you may be focused on receiving the medical treatment you need and putting your life back together. However, you should be careful of waiting too long to pursue a claim, as there are strict time limits in place known as the statute of limitations. Should the statute of limitations run out in your case, you will be barred from bringing any legal action against the at-fault party, and will not be able to recover the financial compensation you would have otherwise been able to recover. Taking immediate action to pursue a claim, with the help of legal representation, can also provide your attorney with the time needed to not only help you navigate medical treatment and other issues, but also build a strong case.
- Trusting the Insurance Company – At-fault parties in auto accidents typically have any claims filed against them handled by their insurance provider. It is important to remember these insurance companies are corporations with priorities that align with their profit margins, not the well-being of victims harmed by their policy holders. As such, you cannot trust them to do the right thing. In fact, insurance companies will often employ tactics to pay you as little as possible. These can include making lowball settlement offers in hopes that you will settle for less than you deserve, or having you make recorded statements (which you do not have to make, especially without first consulting a lawyer) to have you say things that can be used against you. Insurance companies want to pay you as little as they can, which is why they can’t be trusted, and all the more reason why working with an attorney can help level the playing field.
These mistakes are just a few examples of the missteps that can compromise your ability to recover the compensation you need and deserve. Ultimately, the most important thing you can do when working to protect your rights and hold at-fault parties accountable is to work with proven personal injury lawyers who can help you take the right steps from the very beginning. At Hare Wynn, our accident attorneys make ourselves readily available to victims across Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, and beyond immediately after they’ve been harmed. Get started on the right path today by calling (855) 997-9319 for a FREE consultation.