Getting into a car accident is a terribly stressful event. But there are some common mistakes you should avoid in order to protect your rights in the aftermath of a crash. Neglecting certain responsibilities could be costly.
Listed below are seven of the most common mistakes made by car accident victims, and advice about how you can avoid these pitfalls.
4. Don’t delay notifying your insurance carrier. You should contact your insurance company within 24 hours after a car accident. When you talk to company representatives, do not admit fault or accept blame for the accident. Do not make a written or recorded statement without talking to a lawyer first. Do not downplay your injuries or the damage to your vehicle. Follow your insurance carrier’s instructions, such as for obtaining damage estimates.
6. Don’t accept a quick settlement. You may hear from the other driver’s insurer soon after the accident, and the adjuster may offer you a check for your losses. You can be certain that it is less than you deserve. An offer made too quickly cannot be based on costs of the accident that aren’t even realized yet. But it’s often better for the insurance adjuster to settle your claim quickly and cheaply. Don’t accept a quick, lowball settlement offer and don’t sign anything an insurance company representative presents to you. You could sign away your right to the compensation that you need and deserve.
7. Don’t proceed without a lawyer. If you have been injured in a car crash, you will likely benefit greatly from the assistance of experienced personal injury lawyer. At the very least, a car accident attorney can review your case in a free initial consultation and advise you about what to expect and the steps you should take to protect yourself. If you have a significant claim due to injuries and other losses, an attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and take the matter to court if necessary. Each case is unique, but in most cases an experienced attorney can obtain a better car accident settlement than you could on your own.