Despite the number of people driving in our state declining 40 percent in recent years, the number of fender benders has been on the rise—with accidents increasing by 9.7 percent and fatalities up by 114 deaths over the past year, alone. Unfortunately, car accidents are common, even more so than you might think; so much, in fact, that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t been in one themselves.
To ensure that you or your loved one is protected, it is important to know a bit of background regarding what to expect. We’ve talked a lot in this blog about what you should do after an accident. I want to take some time to discuss what you should not do. Here are several mistakes to avoid, particularly if you’ve been in a car accident.
1. Don’t wait to react. It is important that you take action and begin steps to protect yourself after an accident occurs. After securing your safety and receiving medical attention, reach out to your insurance company to make inquiries about the next steps and how to receive compensation.
It will also be important for you to speak with any witnesses who may have seen the accident, take pictures of the accident scene and any damage to your vehicle. As soon as you’re able, you should also contact a personal injury lawyer.
Remember to also move quickly after an accident, while evidence and your mind are both fresh. This can help you accurately retell your story.
2. Don’t minimize your injuries or your pain. This isn’t the time to play the martyr and pretend you are better than you may actually feel. Minimizing the effects of your accident may feel easier and less confrontational, but it seriously undercuts your ability to receive compensation for how you’ve been affected by an accident. For example, if you’re experiencing back pain that impairs your ability to work, even for only a few days—you should include that information in your claim.
3. Don’t give out too much information. This is a hard one to remember and consider, particularly because it feels rather counterintuitive. You may think that it is your insurance company’s job to protect your best interests. But, sadly, most companies need to instead look for the best way to find a quick (and conservative!) settlement.
This is why you should be careful to not share too much information. Instead, speak with your personal injury lawyer for guidance on what crucial info you should pass along to your insurance company and which information you should reserve for your case or claim.
On the surface, sharing just the basics is key. Let them know how the accident happened, the location where it occurred, when it happened, and a brief description of your injuries. Again, wait to discuss anything further with your insurance company until after you and your lawyer are able to connect.
4. Don’t sign the first settlement you’re offered. In your desire to finalize a claim, secure compensation, and put the events of your accident behind you—you may want to settle your issue as quickly as possible. However, please don’t sign the first offer from your insurance company. Chances are, this will be for the least amount of funds the company can offer.
Offers from insurance companies often come quickly after your accident. It happens often that these settlements come in those early days after an accident, when you may feel vulnerable or confused. This isn’t the time to make big decisions. Instead, wait. Enlist the help of your attorney and go through any offers you may receive together. You may have opportunities to receive additional compensation or your specific experience may necessitate a stronger claim or case.
Your most important task, following a car accident
After experiencing an accident, and after you are safe, your most important to-do is to reach out to a personal injury lawyer. We here at Wilson Williams Law can help. Please give us a call at (888) 253-4071 as soon as you can. We’re happy to guide you through the claim process
Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice.