Ask anyone who’s been involved in a car accident: it’s overwhelming. You may be dealing with a damaged car, injured passengers, or injuries of your own. You’ll be asked to make a lot of decisions in a short period of time. It’s difficult to be prepared because you can’t exactly schedule a car crash as you can a trip to the dentist.
Fortunately, many people have been in your shoes and have wisdom to share. We’ve compiled a list of the top 9 mistakes people make after a car wreck so that you can learn from their experience.
- Panicking. Accidents are scary. It’s natural to feel anxious and begin to panic, but it’s not helpful and may even make things worse! It’s important to remain calm so that you are able to 1) call the police, 2) request an ambulance, and 3) check to see if anyone involved in the accident is injured and needs medical help. You need to be thinking clearly in order to avoid the other 8 mistakes on this list, so we cannot stress enough how important it is to push through your panic and focus on taking care of the task at hand.
- Forgetting to Get Detailed Information. There’s a lot of information you need to get from the other driver: name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance company, and the name of the car’s owner. It’s not impossible to get that information later on, but it is much more complicated! Your personal injury lawyer can get to work on your case much more quickly if you can give them that information at the beginning.
- Discussing Your Accident – with anyone except police. You may instinctively want to apologize to the people in the other car, whether or not you were at fault. But in some cases this may be considered an admission of guilt. Likewise, seemingly innocent statements to your insurance adjuster may be used to negatively impact your case and result in a lower settlement offer for your injuries. When you speak with your insurance company, you can tell them about your vehicle and property damage, but don’t share details about your accident or injuries.
- Refusing Medical Care. Some common car accident injuries, like broken bones, are immediately apparent. But many other injuries you may experience as the result of a car wreck can take days to appear. Don’t make any definite judgments about your medical condition at the scene of the accident, or even the day after. You may feel fine at the time, but making statements like “I feel fine” or “I’m not hurt” can cast suspicion on you if, a few days later, you experience pain or medical complications. It’s almost always a good idea to see your doctor before ruling out any injuries.
- Not Collecting Documents. If you hire a personal injury lawyer, he or she will need copies of the following documents: the accident report, property damage estimate, photos of property damage and your injuries, and all insurance cards and policies. It’s much easier to collect these documents as you go, rather than retroactively attempting to track them down.
- Failing to Keep a Daily Diary. Taylor King Law provides each of our clients with a journal for one important reason: every detail is important when it comes to a personal injury case, and it’s easy to forget details during such a stressful time. Take time to jot down daily descriptions of your pain level and how your injuries affect your daily life; this is valuable to your case!
- Failing to Submit Bills to the Insurance Provider. Most legal offices will assist you with forms sent to you by your health insurance provider. Check your policy to see if your provider qualifies to be paid back from a third-party reimbursement.
- Forgetting to Report the Accident to Your Insurance Provider (ASAP). It’s important to notify your own insurance provider about the accident immediately, regardless of who was at fault.
- Signing Anything (Before Consulting an Attorney). Taylor King offers free, no-obligation consultations to all prospective clients, as do many other personal injury lawyers. Talk with an attorney before you sign anything or accept any offers from an insurance adjuster. Signing the wrong papers could mean that you’ve settled for less than you deserve.
And finally, don’t forget to be patient. It takes time to resolve a case and negotiate a settlement, no matter how skilled your attorney may be. Choose an attorney with character and integrity, and then trust them to work diligently on your behalf.
Help is Here at Taylor King Law
Were you injured in a car accident? Do you have questions or concerns? The Taylor King Law firm represents thousands of Arkansans in personal injury cases. We may be able to help you. Contact us for a Free Consultation at 1-800-CAR WRECK, or fill out our quick and easy Case Evaluation Form online. We’ll be happy to speak with you about your injuries and discuss your legal options.