Auto accidents are not your everyday experience. When they do happen, traffic crashes can be chaotic and overwhelming, especially if you or another person involved has been injured. Although there are a lot of things going on in the aftermath of a crash, it is still important to remember that what you say and do can impact your ability to file a claim for compensation, should you choose to do so at a later time.
Because your actions after a crash matter, our team of Orange County personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg want you to understand a few important mistakes to watch out for and the correct steps you should be taking after a car accident. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can better protect yourself, your rights, and your ability to recover the compensation you are entitled to after being hurt by another’s negligence.
- Saying “Sorry” – Apologizing after an accident may come naturally to some people, even if they were not the party responsible for causing the crash. Although it may be a nice gesture, you should never say you are “sorry” to anyone involved in a crash. You should also avoid statements that could be interpreted as accepting fault or blame. By saying sorry or accepting blame, you potentially give the other party involved, and their insurance company, evidence that can be used against you should you choose to file a personal injury claim. Instead of apologizing and discussing fault, simply make sure all parties involved are okay and determine whether they may need medical assistance.
- Not Calling Police – Some motorists may not feel that it is necessary to involve law enforcement or other emergency personnel after a car accident, but doing so can provide additional support to any claim you file. By calling police, you not only ensure that any injured victims receive needed emergency medical care, but also that you have an objective third party who can take statements and compile a report of what transpired in the crash. This police report can be a valuable piece of information during a personal injury claim.
- Forgetting to Collect Information – To protect yourself from the possibility of being given false information or from not being able to track down the other parties involved in your crash, it is always best to collect as much information as you can. This includes collecting all identifying, insurance, and contact information from other parties involved and the information of any witnesses. If you are able to do so, you should also take pictures of the scene, the vehicles involved, and their license plates for your records. You can also take photos of your injuries if you sustained any during the crash.
- Waiting to Seek Medical Treatment – One of the biggest mistakes injured victims make following a car crash is not seeking timely medical treatment. Whether you feel that you can tough it out, are unsure as to how to go about seeking medical treatment, or don’t know how your medical insurance works, it is still critical that you seek a prompt medical evaluation. Doing so can ensure that you receive any medical care you need, especially if there is an injury you are not aware of. Remember, signs and symptoms of an injury may not be apparent while your adrenaline is flowing after a crash, and you may not notice signs of an injury until time passes after an accident. It is always best to seek medical care as soon as you can, not only for your health, but also because insurance adjusters are quick to point out when a victim waits to seek treatment. They often argue that it shows a victim was not really hurt, even if a person was hurt all along and waited for some other reason.
- Trusting the Insurance Company – Perhaps the most disastrous mistake you can make after a crash is believing that the insurance company is there to help you. Remember, insurers are in business because they collect premiums from policyholders and keep those premiums low by minimizing what they pay to victims who file claims. They are not in business to help victims injured by their policyholders. If another driver’s insurance company tries to contact you, be warned that they may attempt to get you to admit fault or make incriminating statements. They may also offer you a lowball settlement in order to quickly avoid paying what you rightfully deserve.
The most effective way of avoiding mistakes, or handling any mistakes and complications that arise, is to work with experienced auto accident lawyers who can educate you about your rights, guide you through the legal process ahead, and handle all communication with authorities and insurers on your behalf. Personal injury claims are not simple, and they are often contested and defended against by insurance companies who are backed by ample resources. With a tried and true lawyer on your side, you can level the playing field and put yourself in a positive position to recover what you deserve.
At the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg, our car accident lawyers are available to help victims and families throughout Orange County immediately after they have been harmed in preventable car accidents. Our team has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we are ready to fight for you. Let us review your case and discuss how we may be able to help during a free consultation.
To speak with a lawyer from the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg, contact us today.