It is far easier than people realize to make a mistake in the chaos that follows a car crash. In fact, a large number of motorists say or do the wrong thing shortly after a collision, thereby negatively impacting their chances of a favorable outcome to any attempts at securing fairly-valued compensation that they may pursue.
Exactly what kinds of support and protection someone requires after a crash often depend on the specific circumstances of that individual’s case. The advocacy necessitated by a hit-and-run collision will be vastly different than what someone involved in a semi-truck crash would require. However, there are four mistakes that seem to be among the most severe and common errors made by drivers following collisions of all kinds.
1. Leaving the scene without filing a report
When a crash results in property damage or injuries, it is legally necessary to report the collision to local law enforcement authorities. Failing to do so will mean that there is no official record of the collision, which will make it much harder to pursue compensation later.
2. Failing to seek medical care
The idea that someone needs to see a doctor after a crash seems like common sense until after a collision, when someone may feel flustered and stressed about how much time they must commit to filing a police report and then getting their vehicle taken somewhere for repairs. Failing to see a doctor might mean that someone doesn’t notice a brain injury or internal bleeding before their condition gets worse. Those who don’t see a doctor shortly after a crash may also have a harder time getting insurance coverage for their medical treatment later, there may be questions about the actual origins of their injuries.
3. Making a recorded statement for an insurance company
Insurance adjusters will often ask the same question multiple ways, much like a police officer interrogating someone. Their goal is to get an individual to imply that they may have had some responsibility for the crash or to contradict their prior statements. Such mistakes could give an insurance company grounds to deny a claim or reduce how much they pay for property damage and injuries. A statement may be necessary in some cases, policyholders and claimants typically have the right to have a lawyer present for official recorded statements.
4. Accepting a first settlement offer
In the first weeks after a crash, someone may not yet realize what will happen to their earning potential and what their long-term care costs could be. It is unfortunately quite common for people to accept settlements that are unfavorable and well below the policy limits that determine how much coverage they could receive.
Individuals who have sustained serious injuries often need help evaluating their situation to put a reasonable price tag on their losses and manage insurance claims. Avoiding common mistakes can help people connect with the professional medical and legal support they’ll need to pay their bills and move on with life after a major car crash.