Many auto accident injury victims inadvertently ruin their accident case by saying or doing things that end up coming back to haunt them. Something as simple as delaying medical care because you’re really busy or letting the other driver off the hook because they were “really nice and apologetic” can mean that you won’t see a penny for your injuries and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car or truck accident, please review these tips to make sure you don’t unintentionally damage your case. However, even if you think you might have made one of the mistakes listed below, please bring it up with your attorney as they may be able to help you out.
5 Tips for Auto Accident Injury Victims
- Always call the police. It can be tempting to agree with the other driver that you can handle things just between yourselves – especially if the injuries and damage seem minor. However, what some drivers find out the hard way is that injuries and automobile damage don’t always reveal themselves right away. Without a police accident report, you don’t have any proof that the other driver was at fault. Even worse, that “nice” other driver can turn around and claim that the accident was your fault! This is one of those situations when it is “better safe than sorry” – always make sure you get the police to come out and file an official accident report.
- Get witness contact information immediately. If there are any witnesses to the accident, make sure that you talk to them as soon as possible and record their contact information. It can be hard to remember this when you’re in shock and hurting, but the more good witnesses you have on your side the more airtight your case. The last thing you want is for the other driver to get away with causing the accident because you have nobody to back up your version of how the accident occurred.
- Seek immediate medical attention. This piece of advice isn’t always obvious to all victims. It can be tempting – especially if your injuries don’t seem serious – to delay seeking medical care until you have more time to go to the doctor or hospital. However, this can be a terrible blow to your accident injury case, particularly if you underestimate how badly you were injured. The other driver or their insurance company could easily argue that you weren’t injured in the accident – at least not seriously – because you didn’t rush off to the hospital.
- Recorded statements? No thanks! If the insurance company asks you to make a recorded statement, politely decline. This is one of the biggest traps that victims fall into, as the company is hoping that you will inadvertently say something that will damage your case or make you look responsible for the accident. Make sure you talk to an attorney before you speak with the insurance company. Just because you think you have an airtight case doesn’t mean that the insurance company or the other driver won’t find a way to make it look like you share some – or all – of the blame.
- Don’t accept a quick settlement. If an insurance company offers you a quick settlement with little or no argument, it can be tempting to think you’ve hit the jackpot and take the money without question. However, especially in serious injury cases, the first settlement offered by the insurance company is often a lowball offer. They are hoping you’ll take their tiny payout and go on with your life. Is this fair? Not at all, which is why it is important to talk to an experienced accident attorney about your case. Very often settlements for serious injury cases can – and should – be much larger than the initial quick settlement offer.
555 East Main Street, 14th Floor
Norfolk, VA 23510
Telephone: (757) 625-1214
Facsimile: (757) 622-7295