Nobody wants to be in an accident. Not only is the incident itself frightening, but the aftermath scares many as well. One misstep can lead to the loss of compensation for your injuries, your pain and suffering, time lost from work, and more. Don’t allow this to happen. Prepare for an accident before one happens. Doing so ensures you take the right steps during a difficult time and protect your rights.
Furthermore, learn what steps to avoid at this time. What mistakes do accident victims typically make? An experienced Corpus Christi lawyer shares the following advice.
Always Call Law Enforcement
People might assume they don’t need to call the police if the accident appears minor. Always bring law enforcement in after a vehicle crash. They collect evidence that helps to prove your claim if the case goes to court. While this isn’t their job, they do need to determine if one person is at fault. Items they document in the accident report often boost a victim’s claim. The police record information about any witnesses to the incident, take photos of the scene, and document anything that may have played a role in the accident, such as a traffic sign covered by leaves from a tree.
In addition, the law enforcement officer might ticket the other driver. This helps to show who was at fault in the accident. A failure to contact the police could lead to the jury asking what the victim was trying to hide and why they didn’t reach out for help. Always call the police regardless of the severity of the accident to avoid these potential issues.
Don’t Admit Guilt
In fact, say as little as possible following an accident. Answer any questions posed by law enforcement officers on the scene and leave it at that. People often apologize after an accident, even if they weren’t at fault. They do so to make the other person involved feel better, but this may backfire. The other driver’s insurance company might claim this is an admission of guilt on the part of the victim and offer a lower settlement if they offer one at all.
Every person involved in an accident needs a copy of the police report. However, gather other evidence to support your claim. This includes pictures at the scene, the names of any witnesses to the accident, road conditions, information regarding what happened prior to and during the accident, and more. If medical attention is needed, obtain copies of all medical records related to the injuries and accompanying treatment.
Take a photo of both vehicles and a picture of the other driver’s license and vehicle license plate, if they will allow this. The more documentation you have, the easier it becomes for the attorney to investigate what happened and build a case. Although the police should collect this information, it never hurts to have your own copy.
Seek Medical Attention
Although you may feel fine immediately following the accident, visit a doctor for a complete physical exam. Injuries often don’t become noticeable until hours, days, or weeks after the accident. When an accident occurs, the body releases adrenaline, which can hide the pain. Medical professionals must verify any injuries you have if you are to obtain compensation, so never skip this step.
When working with the medical professional, make certain they create an accurate record detailing the nature of the injuries, their severity, and the prognosis. Insurance companies see this record and are often more willing to settle a claim, as they don’t want a court battle that could end up costing them a great deal more. They know the victim has proof and they are likely to lose if the claim makes it into a courtroom.
Never Trust the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
Insurance companies operate to make a profit. As a result, they deny claims whenever possible, especially if they believe the victim won’t pursue the matter. In addition, they lowball settlement offers in the hopes the victim won’t know how much they are actually entitled to. For this reason, every person injured in an accident should consult with an attorney, even if they don’t hire a lawyer for representation. They have a better understanding of whether they are receiving fair treatment or if they need to fight for a higher settlement after this meeting.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
When the other driver’s insurance company makes their first offer, don’t accept the settlement. They make this offer knowing many victims simply want to get the mater behind them. They take whatever is offered to ensure this happens. If a person is willing to hold out and fight for a better settlement, insurance companies often increase the amount they are willing to pay. They don’t want to see the case go to court. Use the time to build your case and show them that you are serious. It does pay off in the long run.
Meet All Deadlines
Every state determines the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Make certain you know the deadline for filing your case, so you don’t miss out on the compensation you deserve. In addition, you might need to meet additional deadlines as the case moves forward. By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure you file all paperwork in a timely manner and it is filled out correctly to prevent any delays.
Fight Any Traffic Tickets
Both parties may receive a ticket following a car accident. If you are ticketed, fight it in court. Many people assume it’s better to pay the ticket, but doing so makes it harder to win your personal injury case in civil court. Make certain you appear in court to fight the ticket, and you may wish to bring an attorney with you. Doing so helps to protect your rights as they relate to seeking compensation for your injuries.
Tell your attorney about everything related to the accident. This includes the DUI you got 30 years ago. By doing so, you allow the attorney to prepare for anything that may be brought up in court to weaken your claim.
This is your personal injury case, so don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand something. A good attorney answers every question to allow the client to feel comfortable with what is happening. No question is too small at this time.
Hopefully, you will never be involved in an accident. If you are, however, this information becomes of great help in ensuring your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation. Every person who has been injured through no fault of their own deserves to be protected in a court of law. An attorney can help make certain this is the case.