The actions you take after a car crash are critical to ensuring your rights are protected. Often, the mistakes made in the aftermath of a collision can potentially jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for the damages you've suffered. When facing costly medical bills and lost wages from time missed at work, losing your right to compensation can have devastating consequences for you and your family.
Here are 7 common mistakes made after a car crash:
- Failing to call the police
- Admitting fault
- Failing to document evidence at the scene
- Failing to seek medical attention
- Accepting the initial insurance settlement offer
- Handling your case on your own
- Waiting too long to file your case
Make sure you are aware of these pitfalls so that you can avoid them. The best way to protect your rights after a wreck is to speak with Jim in person. Your consultation is free, and he will help ensure you take all of the right steps to maximize the value of your compensation.
Failing to Call the Police
After a car wreck, you should always call the police and request that an officer be dispatched to the scene. The officer's police report can provide important evidence that helps prove the other driver was at fault. For example, if the police report indicates the other driver received a traffic citation or was intoxicated, it can significantly strengthen your case.
The police report may also contain photos of the crash scene or contact information for witnesses that can become important evidence in a future lawsuit. Always answer all of the police officer's questions honestly, but never admit fault.
You should NEVER admit fault to anyone after a car wreck. This includes the police officer at the scene, the other driver, insurance adjusters or any witnesses at the scene. Admitting fault can potentially jeopardize your ability to recover compensation.
One common mistake car crash victims make is to apologize for what happened. Apologizing to the other driver can potentially be considered an admission of fault. Even though you might think this is a polite way to de-escalate a tense and difficult situation, the damage done by saying “I'm sorry” can potentially derail a future car crash lawsuit.
Failing to Document Evidence at the Scene
If you've suffered a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention, then this mistake becomes moot. The most important thing you need to do after being involved in a car wreck is to look after your health and well-being. However, if you don't need emergency medical treatment and are able to leave the scene on your own, it's crucial that you gather evidence before moving on with your day.
There is some evidence that may only exist during the immediate aftermath of the crash. Once you and the other driver leave the scene, you will have lost the opportunity to document items such as:
- Positioning of each vehicle after the collision
- Location and severity of damage to each vehicle
- The presence of skid marks or any other indicators which may support your argument that the other driver was at fault
Use your phone to take pictures of these things. You should also take photos of your injuries, and write down the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. The more evidence you can gather before leaving the crash, the easier it will be for Jim to build your case.
Failing to Seek Medical Attention
If you've suffered visible injuries, visiting the doctor becomes a no-brainer. Unfortunately, many people decide to skip a medical evaluation if it seems like they haven't been hurt. There are several reasons why this is a huge mistake:
- Certain injuries, such as a brain injury or spinal cord injury, may take several days or weeks to develop symptoms. Often, your ability to make a full recovery hinges on receiving medical treatment in a timely manner.
- It's important to document that your injuries were in fact caused by the car crash. Without a prompt medical evaluation, the other driver's insurance company may be able to argue that your injury occurred at a different time.
Therefore, it's crucial that you visit your doctor within 48-72 hours of the car crash. This prompt diagnosis can be crucial to your ability to recover compensation.
Accepting the Initial Insurance Settlement Offer
The insurance company isn't on your side. Their goal is to minimize the amount they must pay on your claim. One of the ways they accomplish this is by offering you a lowball initial settlement offer. While it's tempting to accept this offer and receive some desperately needed money at a time of financial need, this is not in your best interest.
Once you accept an insurance settlement offer or sign a waiver from the insurance company, you will usually lose the right to recover additional compensation in the future. Therefore, it's best to speak with a lawyer who can determine the true value of your damages and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Handling Your Case on Your Own
If you haven't been injured and you're only seeking money to cover the repairs to your vehicle, you can most likely deal directly with your insurance company. However, if you have suffered any type of injury, it's crucial that you seek legal representation. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to ensure you maximize your compensation.
There are many complex laws governing car wrecks in Connecticut. An experienced lawyer will help you navigate these laws to ensure your rights are protected. Your attorney will also help you build the strongest case possible and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure their settlement offer reflects the true value of your damages. In the event that settling isn't in your best interest, you will definitely need the assistance of a lawyer once your case goes to trial.
Waiting Too Long to File Your Case
In Connecticut, you have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. If you miss this important deadline, you may jeopardize your ability to recover compensation. Jim will make sure all deadlines are met every step of the way.
Contact our Bridgeport Car Wreck Lawyer
Please contact Jim Miron, Attorney at Law using the form on this page or call 203-339-5991 today to schedule your complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford and the surrounding areas of Connecticut.