Getting into an automobile accident can be frustrating on its own, but it can also be the start of a complicated process to get the compensation you deserve from insurance companies. From the moment the insurance company realizes they will need to pay a claim, they will do everything in their power to keep the final price they pay low. The things an accident victim does immediately after a wreck can determine how much compensation they get and how hard they will have to fight the insurance company for it. Here are six common mistakes to avoid when you’re in a car accident.
Southern politeness is a virtue, but it can come back to bite accident victims in the rear. Many people say “I’m sorry” to be polite but doing this after a car accident can be interpreted as an admission of guilt. In a situation where it’s difficult to determine who is at fault, your statement could become a liability. Drivers that have been in an accident shouldn’t admit guilt, even if they think they believe they are the cause of the accidents. The truth is, without knowing what was going on in the other car at the time, you can’t be sure you are the one at fault.
Not Getting a Police Report After the Accident.
Most car insurance investigations will be based on establishing what happened during the crash. When the police arrive, they will document what they found at the scene along with any notes they made about who was at fault. Without a documented police report, arguments over who is at fault can descend into he-said, she-said arguments, with both sides giving different versions of the events. Calling the police may seem unnecessary and time consuming for a minor accident. However, it’s not uncommon for people to convince accident victims not to file a report, only to go and tell their insurance company a fabricated version of the story where they aren’t the party at fault.
Failing to Document the Scene
Besides getting a police report, drivers involved in an accident should try and take photographs of the scene, if possible. Be sure to get photos of the scene of the crash, the damage done to both vehicles, any damage to buildings, and the conditions of the roads. You should also try to get contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident. The images and witnesses can be beneficial later if you need to present evidence for your claim. Without this kind of documentation, it is harder to obtain a reasonable settlement.
Failing to seek medical immediate medical treatment
One of the biggest mistakes you can make after a car accident is waiting to find medical treatment. It’s vital to seek medical care to see if any crash-related injuries can heal over time or if they will require additional medical procedures. There is a definitive cutoff point for when medical claims from an accident must be made. And the longer you wait from the time of the crash, the less compelling your claims for medical compensation become. Like calling the police, drivers may assume that any aches or pains they feel after an accident will go away in time. However, your medical situation could get worse, and without the documentation from the doctor, it will be harder to get the insurance company to pay the bills. It’s also essential that drivers seek medical attention from a doctor who is experienced in handling accident-related cases. They know what injuries to look for and how to deal with issues from the insurance companies.
Trying to Settle Your Own Case
When you first meet your insurance claim adjuster, they will appear to be very nice people who are out to help you. They are usually quick to tell accident victims that they don’t need an attorney and that the insurer and the accident victim can work out a fair deal. This charm offensive works more often than it should, and accident victims are given less compensation than they deserve. The amount being lost to these tactics is not insignificant. People involved in auto accidents who have a lawyer on their side, get claims that are high enough to pay the attorney and for the driver to still come out with more money than they would have gotten from the claim adjuster on their own.
Accepting the first settlement
When dealing with insurers after an accident, keep in mind that good things are worth the wait. Insurance companies like to make quick settlement offers in the hope that the driver will be happy to get some money and to be done with the process. However, the first settlement offer is rarely the best offer. It’s usually the lowest possible offer the insurer thinks they can get away with. Once you’ve settled your claim, it’s almost impossible to reopen your case, even if new expenses related to the accident arise in the future. To get the best settlement offer, be sure to have an auto accident attorney who knows the compensation you deserve and is willing to fight for you.
If you have any questions related to settling a claim with a car insurance firm, contact the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. We have decades of experience fighting for the people of Jacksonville and know how to get the results our clients desire.