If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may have suffered psychologically, emotionally, physically, and financially. The law allows you to seek compensation for losses sustained during the accident, particularly if it was caused by the other driver’s negligence or carelessness. However, insurance companies will do all possible to limit or even hinder you from receiving just compensation. So, you can’t afford to make any car accident claim mistakes that will cause your claim settlement to be delayed or denied.
You may be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other damages. However, knowing what to do following an accident is critical from the start. Here are eight common mistakes that could damage your vehicle accident claim or lower the amount of compensation you receive.
1. Taking Too Long to File a Car Accident Claim
The statute of limitations in California is two years. It limits the time for people involved in a dispute to submit a legal claim. Each law will vary from one state to the other. In some states, the statute is less than two years. However, you don’t have to settle your claim within that time.
Once the statute expires, you cannot submit your claim. Unfortunately, the case is likely to be dismissed, and you will lose the opportunity to recover compensation for the accident. That means you will also be left paying for all of your medical expenses and other bills.
2. Failure to Report the Accident
They’re people who frequently fail to report accidents mainly because they don’t know that they should. This is crucial because a police report is used as evidence in a car accident claim. Even if you aren’t sure if you want to take legal action, the other party involved may. If you’re innocent, the police report will help indicate that.
Notifying authorities and having police at the scene will assist you in keeping all involved parties calm.
3. Failing to See a Doctor
This may appear like an uncommon mistake. However, some car accident victims often choose not to get medical treatment. After an auto accident, you may feel fine enough not to go to the hospital, or you may want to treat the minor injuries at home. Or, maybe you want to avoid paying medical bills. Regardless of how small a car accident injury is, always visit a qualified physician.
Doctors will accurately diagnose bodily damage. However, the consequences could be horrible if you fail to seek medical treatment following the accident. Also, some injuries aren’t immediately or physically noticeable, like brain injuries.
Furthermore, insurance companies could fail to compensate you if you don’t have a report from a medical expert. A doctor will provide a formal document that will be vital for your case.
4. Paying Out of Pocket
Proving liability in an accident is challenging. If the other driver claims you were at fault and is pressuring you to pay for their property damage and medical expenses, don’t. Also, covering expenses under the table can end up being more costly. After you have already paid, the other party could claim that more treatment or repairs are needed and there will be no proof that you already paid for some of the costs.
In most cases, all parties involved in the accident are usually at fault. Also, to ensure all legal aspects are in order, no payment should be exchanged until the insurance companies and the lawyers have been included in the negotiations.
Being anxious and frightened is quite normal if you’re involved in a car accident. However, you’ll have to avoid overacting and escalating the situation. Avoid interaction with the other party. Let the authorities control the situation. Avoiding confrontations will save you from saying anything that could be used against your case.
6. Being Careless on Social Media
If not careful, social media can get you into trouble. Avoid talking about your case, even if you believe your messages are private. Anything you say may be uncovered during the investigations. Throughout the claims process, keep off social media to prevent revealing too much information online. Working with an experienced auto accident lawyer will provide additional advice on what to do and not to do on social media.
7. Representing Yourself
Some people file for an auto accident claim on their own to save money. This means they’ll try to take up the role meant for lawyers with more experience and knowledge in insurance laws and personal injury claims. Work with experts because they handle such cases every day. They know how to settle everything swiftly with the interest of their clients at heart. Legal representatives do their best to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
8. Accepting the First Insurance Offer
The other driver’s insurance company will contact you after a car accident. They’ll attempt to do this quickly before you consult a car accident attorney and offer an early settlement.
It is normal for most insurers to aim at settling car accident claims fast and at the lowest possible amount. At first, their offer might appear to be enticing. However, it is wise that you don’t accept their settlement.
The insurance company’s initial offer will not account for lost wages and future medical bills related to the accident, among other damages. Before speaking with an insurance company, talk to an auto accident lawyer for legal counseling. Legal experts will help you navigate the tricky and complicated legal proceedings that insurance experts often put victims through.
Avoid the Above Car Accident Claim Mistakes
Car accidents can be disorienting, confusing, and traumatic. With all the turmoil, it’s tempting to make a quick decision that could lead to making car accident claim mistakes.
Given the accident’s physical, mental, and financial burden, engaging a personal injury lawyer is usually the last thing you want to do. However, safeguarding your legal rights is well worth the effort and far less troublesome than pursuing insurance companies on your own.
Contact us today and our auto accident lawyers will take care of the legal aspects of your claim to concentrate on your physical recovery.