Car Accident Lawyer
An experienced car accident lawyer will have seen various mistakes, seemingly insigniﬁcant in the moment, that can have lasting and negative effects on the ﬁnancial recovery in a personal injury claim.
Call Your Insurance Company Immediately After Your Car Accident
There are a variety of reasons you should speak to your own (as opposed to the insurance representative for the other driver) promptly: you have a duty under your car insurance policy to report an accidents, and to cooperate fully with your insurance company. You may, and likely do, qualify for beneﬁts provided by your insurance such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. You may also qualify for personal injury beneﬁts, your insurance company can deny coverage to you if you do not fully, and timely, provide that information. Now, your chosen personal injury attorney may take these steps. If, however, you have not yet made, or are in the process of potentially retaining counsel, you need to do so.
If You Believe You Are Injured, Seek Immediate Medical Care
Our friends at Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you that this is the classic mistake that attorneys see in their profession. They’ve often spoken to hundreds of people who have been injured in car accidents, who have delayed seeking prompt medical care. The reasons for this are varied, but frequently clients try home remedies, over the counter-medications, or good old “mother nature and father time”, after a car accident, before seeking a professional medical opinion. If you were not injured, great! No need to be seen by a doctor. No personal injury case. If you were injured, don’t assume that it will go away, or get better. It may. It may not. What you want to avoid is one of these recurrent scenarios.
- A claims adjuster denies your claim, because you did not see a doctor even for 8 days after the accident. The insurance company takes the position that if you were really hurt, you would have seen a doctor right away. This denial would make litigation (i.e., ﬁling a lawsuit) necessary to secure a needed ﬁnancial recovery.
- At the trial of your personal injury case, a seasoned, wily and cagy defense attorney argues to the jurors that you were not hurt in the accident, because if you were, you would have gone to the doctor the day of the accident.
Do Not Give Statement To The Other Insurance Company Until You Speak With A Lawyer
Here is the rule of thumb. You should always speak to your own insurance company after a car crash. Only in speciﬁc circumstances, should you speak to the other person’s car insurance representative. You must also consult with an experienced personal injury or car accident lawyer ﬁrst. Your chosen accident attorney may opt to let you give a statement to the insurance company, or, discuss car repairs or obtaining a rental directly with them. The key point is getting the advice of counsel ﬁrst. A statement given without counsel’s presence or consent can lead to issues down the road, in litigation, or even in settlement discussions. You can be assured that the insurance company, and any personal injury attorney that company uses to defeat your case, will use any statement you have made against you. They will argue that any inconsistency should be strictly construed against you, and be taken as evidence that you are lying.
Do Not Discuss The Details of A Car Accident With The Other Driver
Of course, you can communicate, and indeed have to in most scenarios, with the other driver in the wake of a car wreck. Certainly, you can ask if the person is ok, or needs medical care. If they are inclined to volunteer their version of events, listen carefully, and memorize key details, but do not reciprocate. You must provide your identifying and insurance information to that person. Indeed, if injury or property damage is involved, it may constitute a crime not to engage in this basis exchange. Beyond that, do not speak about the details of the accident. It perhaps goes without saying you should not admit fault or apologize. Your own insurance company has likely given you this advice as well. Many personal injury attorney recommendations go a little farther. They often counsel against discussing any fact of the loss. They also advise that you never speak with the other driver about how the accident happened, your speed, direction of travel, intentions, or the color of a light or arrow. For similar reasons, you should not discuss your physical condition with the other driver. As a practical matter, you have just been involved in a singularly traumatic event. The adrenaline is pumping. You may have sustained the type of injury that does not manifest, in terms of symptoms, for hours to days. It’s too early to tell. The situation to avoid, of course, is that other driver convincingly telling a jury that you were not injured, because you said you were not injured.