When another driver causes you to suffer injuries in a car accident, you can't assume his or her insurance company will voluntarily offer you a fair settlement—even if liability is clearly established.
So you need to do everything you can to build a strong claim for compensation. The last thing you want to do is to give an insurance adjuster reasons to deny or reduce your claim.
Unfortunately, this is precisely what some accident victims do, resulting in a much lower settlement. You can learn from their experiences so you don't have the same problems when settling your claim.
Costly Mistakes That Reduce the Value of Your Auto Wreck Claim
Keep in mind that making a single error will most likely not ruin your case. An experienced car accident attorney will have strategies to resolve the majority of mistakes. But you're still able to establish a strong claim by not making these errors:
- Failing to get prompt medical care. Some victims don't get medical treatment because they think they're not injured. However the symptoms of some injuries can take days or longer to emerge. By failing to see a physician quickly, you could jeopardize your health and prompt the insurance adjuster to dispute that you were injured in the crash.
- Not contacting the police. If you don't think you'll need to file a claim, you may be tempted not to call law enforcement to the scene. However, if you later decide the damage to your vehicle or your injuries are worse than you thought, there's not a police report detailing the officer’s narration of how the crash occurred and whether a citation was issued. These and other details may help prove the other driver’s negligence. In addition, without a police report, an insurance adjuster may question whether the crash really occurred.
- Saying “I’m sorry”. Apologizing or saying something similar could be interpreted as an admission of fault by the negligent driver and his insurance company. Refrain from making these statements.
- Not getting contact information. If you fail to get contact details for the driver, his insurance company, and witnesses, you may not be able to file a claim with his insurance company and could lose corroborating statements from neutral witnesses who corroborate with your story.
- Signing a medical release. Signing an insurance company’s medical release gives them a blanket authorization to obtain your sensitive medical information that's not relevant to your accident. This could provide an insurance adjuster with ammunition to argue that your injuries were caused by another incident or aren't that serious.
- Settling too quickly. While you may be tempted to accept the insurance company’s early offers, you need to be careful about settling before you know the full extent of your injuries—and the value of your claim. In addition, the insurance company’s initial offers will most likely be for less than what you really deserve.
- Not retaining an attorney. Failing to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident attorney immediately after your crash could result in these and other mistakes. You don't want to settle your claim or sign any legal documents without first consulting with your attorney to be certain you're being fully compensated and not waiving important legal rights.
If you were injured in a car accident, we're ready to answer your questions and guide you through the process of filing your claim. Call our office to schedule your free consultation today.