The steps you take between the moment an accident occurs and the moment you file a claim matter a great deal. Taking the appropriate steps can help you to protect the value of your claim and maximize compensation. But if you have never been in an accident before, how do you know what steps will help you and what mistakes can hurt your claim?
This is when having a knowledgeable Fort Worth car crash lawyer on your side may be beneficial to you. Our attorneys can walk you through the legal process to help you try to secure the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Below, we discuss some common mistakes to avoid before you call an attorney to help with your claim.
Not Calling the Police After a Crash in Texas
You should always call the police after an accident because an officer’s responsibility is to write a report about what occurred at the scene of the crash and assign fault to the driver he or she believes caused the crash. The responding officer may also be able to note whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash.
A police report should help you establish that the crash occurred, who police believe is responsible and whether there are any witnesses to back up your story, as police often interview others at the scene who may help them determine the cause of the crash. Remember that having witness statements corroborating your version of events may help strengthen your claim.
If you do not call the police to the scene of a crash, you may have to file a crash report with the state after-the-fact since it is required by law. Without a police report, the insurance company may question the legitimacy of the incident. If you wait too long afterward to file, the details of the crash may become fuzzy, and you will not have an objective third party (a police officer) to back up your claim.
Therefore, it is very important to call the police after a crash to assure you have well-documented proof of the accident, what happened and contact information for any potential witnesses (this should be included in the report).
Failing to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Sometimes accident victims refuse medical attention at the scene of the crash thinking they did not suffer any injuries, and therefore do not need to be taken to the hospital for evaluation. However, you may still be injured even if you do not feel immediate pain. If you refused medical attention at the scene of your accident, it is very important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should not let too much time pass between the accident and an appointment with a doctor. If you do, you are opening the door for the insurance company to either claim you are not injured or that your injuries were caused by something else.
Seeing a doctor immediately after an accident can help diagnose any injuries you may have that are not yet evident but could have serious consequences if left untreated. Additionally, it establishes a link between your injuries and the accident, which could help you prove causation later in the case.
To avoid the insurance company trying to deny your claim by saying you are not injured, or that your injuries are not serious, always get medical attention at the scene of the crash or try and see a doctor soon after.
Talking to the Insurance Company Without a Lawyer
Before filing a claim with the liable insurance company, you should already have an attorney who can help you through the process. This is because the insurance company is likely going to ask you to provide a recorded statement where they will try and get you to either admit fault (even partial fault) or that you are not hurt. These are tricks insurers use to avoid liability for accidents their insured drivers cause, and more often than not it works.
Another reason to not talk to the insurance company without an attorney is because they may try to offer you a settlement that is well below the full value of your claim. Insurers often do this when denying liability may be more difficult, but they know that if they make a quick offer to someone who does now know how much their claim may be worth, that person may be likely to accept – thus taking the liability for future damages off their hands.
To avoid having this happen to you, and to help protect the value of your claim, call one of our experienced attorneys soon after an accident to see how we may be able to help you through the process of filing a claim.
Publicly Discussing the Accident
In the age of social media, it is difficult not to vent your frustrations about an accident that was not your fault on Facebook, Instagram or other social platforms. However, this is one of the most common mistakes injury victims make after a crash. Remember, the insurance company is looking for any reason to deny or devalue your claim, so they are likely keeping tabs on your social media activity to see whether you talk about the accident and say something you are not telling them.
In addition to being careful about discussing the accident on social media, you should be careful discussing it in public settings. It sounds paranoid, but insurers often hire private investigators to spy on injury victims to find a reason to deny a claim.
Overall, it would be in your best interest to stick to only discussing your case, injury and accident with your attorney, doctor and close relatives while in a private setting.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
One of the best ways to avoid making common mistakes after an accident is to speak to an attorney right away. Our call center is open 24/7 to get you connected to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule a free consultation.