The last thing you hope to happen when you are out on the road is to be in a car accident, as it can significantly disrupt your life, regardless of the severity of the collision. At Wandres Law, PC, our experienced car accident lawyers help clients who have been injured in accidents pursue their personal injury claims. Read on to learn more about how to make sure you avoid some common mistakes that might jeopardize your chances of full financial recovery.
Either at the scene of the car accident or in a conversation with the insurance company, when the accident was caused by the negligence of another person, you should never admit fault in any capacity. Insurance companies will often try to avoid paying for all or a portion of your damages caused in the auto accident and saying things like, “maybe it was partly my fault” or “perhaps I could have avoided the collision by…”, could give them the justification for doing so.
Remember, insurance companies are in business to minimize what they pay for a claim and shaving off even a few hundred dollars from a property damage or bodily injury claim adds up to big profits when they attempt to do so for every collision. We often see insurance carriers for the at-fault party try to apportion 10-20% liability back onto our clients before we get involved, stating that they had the “last clear chance” to avoid the wreck, or “you should have heard our insured honking his horn when he slammed into you”. While often, these attempts to apportion a small portion of liability are preposterous and often are easily overcome once we get involved to assist, we have, unfortunately, had potential clients approach us for advice when it’s too late, and the insurance company for the at-fault driver has them backed into a corner.
When you are in a car accident, it is natural to experience a great deal of adrenaline and excitement afterward. This adrenaline and excitement can mask or temporarily numb pain and other symptoms of injuries, so if you are injured in any capacity, it is important that you seek out medical care as soon as possible after your accident, even if you don’t see any serious injuries.
Some injuries like traumatic brain injuries are often not readily apparent to the outside observer. With internal injuries, like those to the brain, it can be difficult to determine whether your symptoms are indicative of a serious injury or simply natural after a crash. For example, you might feel sore or disoriented and think it is normal when in reality, you have a soft tissue injury or concussion. Symptoms might arise and worsen over the coming hours or days, and it is best to get checked out right away to prevent this whenever happening.
An insurance adjuster might call you shortly after the accident, and they might tell you that there is no need to hire a car accident attorney, or they might even offer you a quick settlement. First, even if the adjuster seems like they are on your side, know that this is not the case. The adjuster wants to get information from you that they might use to limit or deny your claim. Even saying something as simple as “I’m fine” to an adjuster can be used to claim that you are not feeling any pain and suffering from your injuries. Never give detailed statements to an adjuster – instead, other than providing information they need to get the property damage repair/settlement process moving along, let them know that you intend to seek the advice of a lawyer and that you will have them get in touch for any questions regarding your injuries.
When you are offered a settlement from the insurance company, it is important to remember that their motivation is to reduce costs. A quick offer of settlement might seem to cover your immediate bills like your car repairs and emergency room visit; perhaps a few follow-up appointments. However, these hasty settlement offers generally won’t cover any potential long-term cost, so if you need additional treatment, you miss work, or unfortunately, you later determine that you sustained a much more serious injury than you initially thought, you might be out of luck if you agreed to settle your claim shortly after the wreck. Receiving a quick settlement might seem beneficial, but it is not the right decision if it will leave you facing future costs that have to come out of your pocket. Never accept any settlement without first having it reviewed by an experienced personal injury attorney.
Some people think they should be able to handle a car accident claim on their own. Depending on the circumstances, such as when the collision results only in property damage and no injuries, they could be right. However, those who are injured in a car accident who attempt to navigate the process alone nearly always end up receiving much less than they need or deserve. Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect your rights is to call a car accident lawyer for help. At Wandres Law, we can assess our clients’ situation and handle all negotiations and communications with the insurance company, allowing our clients to focus on their medical treatment and recovery.
Connect with one of the experienced car accident attorneys from Wandres Law to learn more about how the right legal representation can benefit you and your claim. Feel free to schedule a consultation to discuss your case as soon as possible.