Being injured in a car accident that was caused by another is the beginning of what could be a very frustrating journey, especially if you make any one of these five mistakes. Taking care of your injuries while making sure you don’t say the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster or forget to take pictures is a lot to juggle. We’ve made this list of top mistakes based on our experience handling personal injury lawsuits for injuries sustained in a car or motorcycle accident.
- Downplaying Your Injuries
You’ve just been in a car accident and you aren’t bleeding profusely or seem to have any broken bones – you’re okay! Actually, you may not be. Don’t assume that you don’t have any injuries just because you can’t see them. Be accurate in your word choice when speaking to first responders; You don’t have life threatening injuries so you don’t need an ambulance, not that you are okay. The pain or soreness that you feel may be expected because of the accident but they could also be signs of internal injuries so don’t completely dismiss the idea of medical care.
- Not Seeking Medical Attention
Don’t expect the soreness or pain to fade over time. Many people still feel the pain of their injuries from an accident months after it occurred. Don’t let the thought of medical bills prevent you from seeking care. If your injuries are severe or life threatening, take an ambulance from the scene of the accident. If they are not, see your doctor by the next day. If you don’t have a doctor, pick one out, even its an urgent care doctor to document the extent of your injuries. The doctor will also help to pinpoint what is causing your pain or soreness and provide treatment.
- Not Calling the Police
Even if the accident is minor and all parties appear to not be injured badly, you still need to notify the police. In the State of Florida, it is required to notify the police of any accident involving injuries or property damage over $500. A simple fender bender can meet this requirement. Insurance companies may also require a police report prior to filing a claim for the damage. Be sure you get a copy of the report and a copy of the other party’s insurance card.
- Failing to Gather Evidence
Either keep a camera in your car or use the camera on your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene, your vehicle, other vehicles involved (even if they did not hit you directly), your injuries, and even the injuries (or lack thereof) of the others involved. Get witness statements and contact information, take pictures of insurance cards, document the weather and road conditions (e.g. raining or light traffic).
- Making a Deal With the Insurance Company
After the accident, the arrival of first responders, and seeking medical care, you will be reaching out to your car insurance company for the damages to your vehicle. Keep in mind that the goal of any and every insurance company is to minimize their responsibility and reduce the amount they are required to pay out. When speaking with an adjuster, do not minimize your injuries or admit fault for the accident. Relay only the facts and if you are offered a settlement or asked to sign an agreement, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney. A personal injury attorney will be the only one who is actually on your side and will be able to review the settlement or agreement to make sure that you are not being taken advantage of.