There are a lot of articles that detail what you should do after an auto accident, but what about the things you shouldn’t do? There are several avoidable mistakes that can potentially jeopardize an injured person’s car crash injury settlement.
Don’t Flee the Scene
If you’re involved in a crash, you need to stop and exchange information with the other driver. If anyone is injured or your crash is blocking traffic you need to also call 911. Failing to provide assistance to the occupants of the other car or fleeing the scene of an injury accident without exchanging insurance and contact info with the other driver is a felony offense in Georgia.
Fleeing the scene won’t just make it harder to prove you weren’t at fault for the accident, you may also end up facing jail time or significant fines.
Don’t Get into an Altercation with the Other Driver
If someone causes an accident and you are injured as a result you have every right to be angry, but it’s important you don’t let your emotions get the better of you. What you say and do can have serious legal consequences for your personal injury case and can potentially get you in criminal trouble.
Accidents that escalate into road rage carry the risk of turning the wronged party into the guilty party. Don’t suffer avoidable consequences because you’re mad in the moment.
Don’t Admit Fault to Anyone
You shouldn’t tell the other driver or law enforcement you’re sorry or that you messed up. Far too often apologies come back to haunt injured motorists. If you admit fault to police or make any statements of regret, it could end up being on the record.
Drivers who apologize might give the other driver’s insurance company an excuse to deny a legitimate claim. Don’t make any admissions of any kind until you’ve consulted with an auto accident personal injury lawyer.
Don’t Tough It Out – See a Doctor Immediately
The desire to fight through the pain with stoic stubbornness is one of the most admired American attributes, but it’s not helpful after an accident injury. Being tough and going on with your day or week without seeking medical care is one of the mistakes that is most likely to jeopardize your claim settlement or personal injury trial.
Your initial medical examination is a hugely important piece of evidence in your injury case. If you heal on your own and try to file a claim a year later, it will be hard to prove the extent of your injuries or that those injuries were caused by a specific auto accident.
The other driver’s insurance company will also argue that your injuries don’t warrant a personal injury case because if they were serious you would have seen a doctor right after the accident.
Don’t Negotiate with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Without a Lawyer If You Were Injured
This is one of the big differences between an injury accident and a minor accident. You won’t be able to find a personal injury lawyer to represent you for a fender bender that didn’t result in any injuries. In that scenario you will need to negotiate directly with the other driver’s insurance company.
Auto accidents that result in serious injuries are a totally different matter. Insurance companies have experienced claims adjusters and lawyers who negotiate injured people down on their settlement deals for a living. They are really good at what they do.
You deserve full compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and property damage. Your chances for getting that compensation will likely increase if you’re represented by a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of insurance company negotiations.
The insurance company doesn’t want you to get a lawyer, which should tell you something about their motivations. Chances are good they will contact you as soon as possible after your accident because they know you’re more likely to cut a bad deal before you have a chance to consult with a personal injury lawyer.
Don’t Try to Go It Alone
A lot of people who are injured in auto accidents are confident they can handle the negotiation and legal side of things on their own. Unfortunately, this often turns out to not be the case. The laws that govern personal injury cases and driver liability are complicated. The professionals at insurance companies do this stuff for a living – and so do personal injury lawyers.
Injured people who try to negotiate on their own might do so because they don’t think they can afford professional legal representation, but that’s almost never the case. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay them anything until you receive compensation for your accident injuries.
Don’t Post About Your Accident or Injuries on Social Media
People, including those who have pending personal injury claims, overshare on social media.
If you sue a negligent driver because you suffered severe knee damage in a car crash, then post a picture of yourself at the gym running on a treadmill, the insurance company can use that photo as evidence that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim.
That may sound like a strangely specific and unlikely scenario, but pictures and comments on social media platforms are becoming an increasingly common problem for personal injury victims.
Get an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer on Your Side
The Atlanta car wreck lawyers at the Dressie Law Firm have decades of combined experience advocating for Georgia motorists, pedestrian, bicyclists and motorcyclists who have been injured in car accidents. We know how to investigate accidents, negotiate with the insurance companies and, when necessary, fight for our clients in court.
Call us at 770-203-0713 for a free, no-obligation consultation.