Most people do not know they can cause problems for their personal injury case by being honest at the scene of a car accident that was of their making. Right after the crash is the moment of truth, you are nervous, the adrenaline is running high, and you are talking your head off. You need to be QUIET.
When the Other Insurance Company Contacts You – Do Not Talk Them Directly – More than likely the insurance company will call you or may even try to come to see you and they will want to record what you have to say about what happened. They will be listening to every word to see if they can find anything on your part that could make it easy to deny your claim. DO NOT talk to them, as you can be sure everything you say will be used against you. When they speak to you and ask you to tell them in your own words exactly what happened – tell them “NO.”
Trusting the other driver’s insurance company is a big mistake that has the potential to ruin your entire claim. Remember this: Insurance adjusters are NOT your friend. It does not matter how nice they seem to you. They are friendly to save their insurance company some money, and they will get a bigger bonus. The best way for them to make this happen is to figure out how to give you less money. Never talk about fault or about what your injuries are at the time. Do not agree to provide a recorded statement. All of this only helps their insurance company.
See a Doctor, and Whatever You do, Keep Seeing the Doctor – Going to the ER right after the accident is not all you should do to be persuasive about your case. Most conditions, like brain damage and swelling, soft-tissue injuries, won’t show up immediately. You might not feel anything immediately after the accident because you might be in shock, but then develop issues later. When the first responders arrive, make sure you tell them everything that you are feeling no matter how minor you might think it could be. If you have severe injuries, go immediately to the Emergency Room. You do not know but what these problems could be severe. If you go to the insurance company and do not have proper documentation, fail to take the medications the doctor prescribed, you most likely will not do good in the settlement. It is not the time to be strong and silent. Follow your doctor’s orders.
Think Long and Hard Before Posting on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter – It seems everyone these days are airing their dirty laundry on one or the other. DO NOT post pictures or opinions and tell your friends to please follow your example as it will cause you problems in litigation later.
Do Not Admit Fault – Never, ever admit it is your fault in anyway after the crash. You will talk to so many people: the other driver, the police, several witnesses, your insurance company, maybe their insurance company. It doesn’t matter who you might talk to, DO NOT take the blame for what happened. It means if you think at the time you caused the accident, do NOT admit that you were at fault before you decide on an attorney and discuss with him/her.
Do Not Wait Too Long – There are several reasons that you should not wait too long, and they are all significant. If you should wait too long to investigate your accident or call the police to investigate, the most crucial pieces of your evidence could be gone. Video surveillance your friends may have taped could have gotten erased. Witnesses have forgotten some of the fine details or the details have gotten fuzzy around the edges. If you wait too long to see an attorney, you might find it hard to get one to take your case. A reasonable, experienced attorney usually does not want to file a claim if there is not the time to prepare it so that it will be successful. If you should happen to wait too long in filing the lawsuit, you could miss your deadline completely. Therefore, you would have no chance of receiving any compensation for your loss. Most of the time, car crash victims will have only two years from the time of the accident to file a suit.
None of this has been written to overwhelm you. But most clients do not realize how much damage can be done by waiting and putting off for too long. It is easy to procrastinate. Just make sure you take quick, early action, so the claim is started sooner, and you do not lose out.
Never Sign Anything, Especially From the Other Insurance Company – No matter what, consult with your attorney before you sign ANYTHING from ANYONE. You might end up signing away no telling what; all the way to your legal rights.
If you accept money for any piece of the claim, you will be asked to sign a release form. The form will release that party of any further responsibility financially. It says you will agree that you won’t bring suit again since you have already got money for your damages.
You must watch that some releases will contain language that will take away from you any future legal rights. If you go ahead and sign these forms, you will probably lose the chance to file a claim against any other defendant, not just the one that is giving you a check right now.
Never leave the scene of an accident before the police have arrived UNLESS you must go to the Emergency Room. – You must talk to the police. Call them no matter what, even if you don’t think you are injured enough that it matters. You need your case formally documented, and having the police notes is an essential part of that. DO NOT let the other driver or drivers talk you out of calling the police.