After a car accident, it’s important to take immediate action to protect your legal rights. But if you’re like many people, you don’t know exactly what that means. Even the smallest mistake could jeopardize your ability to collect compensation.
At Stewart Law Offices, we don’t want you to lose out on the money you deserve. Our experienced car accident lawyers have put together a list of the top five mistakes to avoid after being involved in a crash.
Mistake No. 1: Not Contacting Law Enforcement
You should always call the police after a crash, even if no one appears hurt. A police report officially documents that the accident happened. This can be of critical importance if you start showing signs of an injury later. The police report can help establish a timeline that links the accident to any injuries that have a delayed onset, such as whiplash or a concussion.
Mistake No. 2: Not Getting Medical Treatment Right Away
It’s critical to see a doctor even if you feel fine after an auto accident. Injuries that do not manifest symptoms right away can quickly turn deadly, such as internal bleeding. What looks like a simple bruise could indicate damage to vital organs that needs to be stopped surgically. Seeing a doctor immediately ensures that your injuries are detected and do not worsen, but it also generates medical records that will be essential evidence if you need to file a legal claim in the future.
Mistake No. 3: Talking to an Insurance Adjuster Before Consulting an Attorney
No matter how sympathetic they sound, representatives from the insurance company are not on your side. Their job is to save money by making settlement offers that are far lower than what accident victims deserve. It’s OK not to talk to the insurer until you’ve had a chance to speak with an attorney. Check your insurance policy so that you don’t miss the deadline to report the wreck. Then call a trusted car accident lawyer to review your case for you.
Mistake No. 4: Talking About the Crash with Others
Ideally, the only people who should know the details of the accident are you, your lawyer, your doctor. Usually clients have a trusted family member or friend who is also in the loop. However, you should never discuss the accident on social media, with co-workers, or with friends in general. The insurance company will fish for evidence that you are not as injured as you seem. If you claim you suffered from whiplash and someone posts a picture of you dancing on Facebook during your recovery period, that can be used against you.
Mistake No. 5: Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Don’t be shocked if an insurance adjuster offers you a settlement within hours of the crash, perhaps even while you’re still in the hospital. It’s an attempt to get you to accept money before you can possibly understand the impact of your injuries. Remember, you can only settle once. You can’t go back for more compensation once a claim is resolved.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in North & South Carolina Today
For 25 years, Stewart Law Offices has been successfully representing injured people throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. If you were hurt in a wreck, get experience and compassion on your side. Call Stewart Law Offices now.
Originally published January, 2017. Refreshed September, 2020.