Your ability to recover compensation after a car accident may depend on your actions following the crash. It is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible after a crash to avoid making common mistakes. Depending on the type of mistake, you could jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for an injury or loss.
Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
Our car accident attorneys suggest avoiding the following mistakes after a crash:
1. Speaking With the Other Party’s Insurance Company
You should expect a phone call from the other driver’s insurance company soon after your wreck. Be aware that anything you say to the adjuster can be used against you to reduce the value of your claim.
Talking about what happened or discussing your injuries is a bad idea. Insurance adjusters are in business to save the insurance company money, not to ensure that you receive full compensation for your damages.
However, you do have to report the accident to your own insurance company. A failure to do so could be a violation of your policy.
2. Failing to Seek Necessary Medical Care
If you suffered an injury, then you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not think you are injured, a serious car accident can lead to injuries that have a delayed onset of symptoms. Internal bleeding is a good example of an injury that may have delayed onset of symptoms, which is nevertheless capable of causing death or serious disability.
You are establishing a record of your damages by seeking medical attention. Medical records are extremely useful evidence when you are pursuing a car accident claim. Your physician may also be able to provide testimony on your injuries and resulting damages.
3. Being Careless on Social Media
Social media can get you in trouble if you are not careful. You should avoid talking about your case, even if you believe your messages are private. Anything you say may be uncovered during discovery, so it is best to not give the defense any tools to discredit the merit of your claim.
Even checking in at certain places, such as a gym, could be used to discredit you. During the claims process, consider staying off of social media, or even temporarily deactivating your account(s), to prevent automatic features from revealing too much information.
4. Accepting the First Settlement
Insurance companies are in business to make money. They may offer a lower settlement than what your case is worth to avoid having to pay the full amount of damages. Speak with an attorney before deciding whether to accept a settlement offer.
Once you accept a settlement offer, there are no do-overs. An attorney can help you determine the full value of your claim, including whether it is necessary to file a lawsuit.
5. Waiting to File a Case
Waiting to speak to an attorney could potentially cause harm to your claim. First, evidence can disappear quickly after a car accident. Your attorney can legally protect this evidence from spoliation. Second, your attorney can track down witnesses to the accident to obtain more information before anyone forgets important details.
There is also a statute of limitations in New Jersey for filing a car accident claim. Although it is possible to override the statute of limitations in some cases, you would need to meet specific requirements. Once you pass the statute of limitations, you will most likely be unable to pursue compensation for your injuries or loss.
6. Admitting Fault for the Crash
It may be tempting to say “I’m sorry” to the other driver following an accident, but apologizing for the crash could seriously jeopardize your ability to pursue a successful claim. What you say can end up in a police report or on tape. Your apology could lead to your injury claim being denied or significantly reduced.
7. Failing to Notify the Police
You should always report a car crash that results in property damage or injuries. Contact the police as soon as possible after the crash. Officers will arrive on the scene and take statements from you and the other parties involved in the collision. Police reports can be useful for obtaining additional evidence for your claim.
Call Our Vineland Car Accident Lawyers for Help After an Accident
The New Jersey car accident attorneys at Rosner Law Offices, P.C. can help you with the car accident claims process. We can answer any questions you have about filing a car accident lawsuit. You can schedule a free consultation with us by using the case review form on our website or by texting or calling (856) 692-6500.