When we have a car accident, the adrenaline that runs through us can fog our minds and cause us to react in ways that are not necessarily in our favor.
One of the biggest concerns drivers have is the overwhelming number of accidents that happen each day. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, over 37,000 people die in car accidents in the United States each year. In addition, 2.35 million people are left injured or disabled because of car accidents.
Those numbers are very high, but it does not really hit home until you look at your state’s results. According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation‘s most recent statistics, in 2018, there were a total of 278,413 crashes, almost 20,000 more than the previous year.
When we have a car accident, the adrenaline that runs through us can fog our minds and cause us to react in ways that are not necessarily in our favor. If you are not careful, you can commit mistakes that could prevent you from getting a settlement in the amount you deserve. Here is some advice to keep in mind after you have had a car accident.
What are the 10 most costly mistakes you should avoid if you have a car crash?
- Not contacting the police. You should contact the police at the scene of your crash and keep a copy of the police report. Failure to do so could put you in the difficult position of proving the accident even took place. In addition, you will deprive yourself of important information the police report could contain, such as contact information for the driver and witnesses and the officer’s conclusions about who is at fault.
- Not seeking medical attention immediately following the accident. So it may not be necessary that you go to the hospital in an ambulance, but you could have serious injuries without knowing it, so you must see a doctor as soon as possible. Remember to get written evidence of all injuries and test results as well as prescriptions.
- Not keeping subsequent doctor or physical therapy appointments. Following up on necessary medical care is just as important as seeing a physician soon after your accident. When there are gaps in your medical treatment, or you fail to follow your doctor’s instructions, the insurance company could argue that you are not as seriously injured as you claim.
- Agreeing to provide a recorded statement is a tape-recorded question and answer interview between the insurance adjuster and you. It is not a good idea to give a recorded statement as you could say something which affects the amount of your settlement. You are not required to give a recorded statement, and when asked, you should answer with a polite no.
- Not preserving evidence at the scene of the crash. You could lose important evidence that would help you prove the other driver’s negligence if you do not begin collecting evidence immediately after your accident occurs. Gather as much immediate information as possible, including road conditions, damage to both vehicles, weather conditions, and any visible injuries. Also, be sure to get contact information from witnesses; this includes taking pictures and videos of the scene, damage to the vehicles, weather conditions, road conditions, and your injuries. In addition, you want to obtain contact and insurance information from the negligent driver, as well as contact information for witnesses.
- Attempting to assure the other driver you are unhurt. It is not your job to make the other driver feel better about the accident, especially if they are at fault. You may have suffered an injury you are not yet even fully aware of, as some injuries manifest after a day or two. If you assure the other driver that you are not injured, later claims to injury could be perceived as disingenuous. As a result, your recovery may be reduced or perhaps even denied completely.
- Admitting that you were at fault for the crash. It seems obvious that such an admission would be counterproductive in terms of establishing fault. Do not apologize or begin to make excuses for the damage as it can be perceived as an admission of guilt.
- Settling your claim too quickly. It is important to wait until you have reached your maximum medical recovery or received a final prognosis from your doctor to ensure that you receive compensation for future medical expenses and lost wages in your settlement. You should not be in a rush to settle your claim or enter into an agreement without first consulting an experienced attorney.
- Posting on social media. You do not want to post about the accident or your injuries on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. You even need to be careful about what you post about your day-to-day life. The insurance adjuster will likely search your social media sites for evidence that will hurt your claim. For example, if you had a serious back injury and had posted videos of you skateboarding with your friends or working out in the gym, that evidence could be used against you.
- Waiting too long to contact an attorney. You do not want to wait too long to file your claim or a lawsuit because the statute of limitations for filing a claim could expire, and you may waive your right to compensation.
Contact our Monmouth County Auto Accident Talented Team
At Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh, our attorneys are focused on providing constructive and effective legal solutions for clients across West Long Branch, Red Bank, Colts Neck, Asbury Park, and across Monmouth County.
Our unique approach to personal injury centers around establishing a solid case to get you the settlement you deserve. By listening carefully to all of your needs and concerns and keeping you highly informed and involved throughout the legal process, we believe we can work together to achieve the results you need in your unique legal situation.