After a car accident, you probably have a pretty solid understanding of what you should do. Indeed, you know that you need to get the other driver’s information, file a police report, and call your insurance company ASAP. But did you know that there are also a number of things that you shouldn’t do, and that could actually hurt your claim?
To protect yourself and your best interests, review this list of five things you should not do after a car accident. For more information, reach out to our skilled Alabama car accident lawyer at the Alsobrook Law Group:
1. Do Not Leave the Scene without Exchanging Information
Perhaps the biggest mistake that a person can make in the aftermath of an accident is to leave the scene of the accident without exchanging information with the other driver first. While you certainly do not want to be involved in a hit-and-run, you also don’t want to be involved in a situation where you and the other driver agree that everything looks okay, only to part ways and later discover that your car actually does need repairs, or that you actually have suffered an injury that required medical care. If you leave the scene without exchanging information (and without filing a police report), you may be out of luck in terms of seeking insurance compensation.
2. Do Not Dismiss Any Injuries and Fail to Seek Medical Care
Another big mistake is that of failing to seek medical care. While it’s true that you may feel totally fine initially following an accident, you may not feel fine hours, days, or weeks after the crash, particularly if you have suffered a delayed-onset injury. Examples of delayed injuries include soft tissue injuries like whiplash, traumatic brain injuries like concussions, and psychological injuries, like post-traumatic stress disorder.
3. Do Not Make Any Admissions of Fault
It can be difficult to not make an admission of fault or say something that sounds like an admission of fault after an accident, even if you’re not at all to blame. For example, saying, “I’m so sorry!” or “I didn’t even see you!” may feel perfectly natural. However, both of these phrases may be used to put at least some of the blame for the accident on your shoulders. For example, why would you be sorry if you weren’t at fault? And if you didn’t see the other driver, then were you really paying attention? Note than an insurance adjuster is great at twisting words and deriving meaning from innocuous statements. Be wary, and be careful with what you say.
4. Do Not Accept a First Settlement Offer
It can be very tempting to accept an initial settlement offer, especially if you have been seriously injured and need money to pay for your losses as soon as possible. While you may be very eager to get a settlement, the insurance adjuster knows this, and will try to take advantage of your desperation as such. Thinking that you’ll probably accept anything that you’re offered, the insurance adjuster may very well lowball your claim and offer you much less than you truly deserve.
Resist the temptation to accept a first settlement offer unless you are sure that it fully compensates you. If it does not, reject the offer and be prepared to negotiate for an amount you deserve.
5. Do Not Decide to Represent Yourself if Things Get Complicated
Many car accident claims are complicated. You may not be offered what you deserve, you may be blamed for the accident, you may be told that your injuries are preexisting and therefore not eligible for coverage, or your claim may be denied altogether. If things get complicated, don’t make the mistake of trying to represent yourself. Instead, you should hire an experienced car accident lawyer who has handled claims like yours in the past and has an in-depth understanding of the best strategies for maximizing a settlement.
Call the Alsobrook Law Group Today
After a car accident, there are a number of things that you shouldn’t do. One thing that you should do is to reach out to a skilled lawyer who can help you to understand your rights and legal options. At the Alsobrook Law Group, we are ready to start working for you. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our law firm, please send us a message directly or call us at (334) 737-3718. We work on a contingency fee basis and can manage all elements of your claim, including litigation if necessary.