Car accidents can happen in a split second. The aftermath of a car accident can involve a flurry of police reports, getting other drivers’ information, witness contacts, and taking photos. Even more overwhelming is when the accident has resulted in serious injuries involving emergency transportation and hospital care.
Considering the whirlwind of everything that transpires over the hours, days, and weeks after a car accident, there are some common mistakes that accident victims often make after being involved in a car accident.
Mistake #1 – Not Getting A Medical Evaluation
After a car accident, it is common for victims to underestimate their injuries. While you may not be suffering any symptoms immediately, many injuries become apparent after the adrenaline of the situation wears off. Some injuries don’t show symptoms until hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.
Getting a medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident gives you the peace of mind of getting possible injuries diagnosed and cared for. Furthermore, if an accident claim becomes necessary, this is critical evidence to support your injury claim.
Mistake #2 – Apologizing Or Admitting Fault After The Accident
Most people will have the instinct to say they are sorry after an accident. Unfortunately, this can be construed as an admission of fault for the accident.
Even if you believe that you were responsible for the accident, there may have been other contributing factors involved. In personal injury law, fault can mean liability, and that can have an effect on a personal injury claim.
Mistake #3 – Agreeing To Not Call The Police
Never let another driver talk you out of calling the police after an accident.
In Louisiana, drivers are legally required to call the police after a serious accident or one that results in an injury. The police will make a determination of who they think is at fault for the accident and if a driver has violated the law. A police report serves as critical evidence should a personal injury claim arise. If a citation is issued to the other driver, this can positively impact your case.
Mistake #4 – Failing To Collect Evidence
If you can, you should take photos or videos of the accident scene and the damages that resulted. Take photos of the area, the road condition, and any injuries you may have sustained. Take down the names of any other drivers and witnesses to the accident and their contact information.
Mistake #5 – Relying On An Insurance Company For A Fair Settlement
While most individuals believe that insurance protects them in times of emergency, unfortunately, as large for-profit companies, their primary focus is on profits. This is the double-edged sword of insurance. To maintain profits, they find ways to reduce their payments to the individuals relying on a claim.
You will also want to be cautious of what you tell an insurance adjuster. If you say anything that makes them believe you are at fault, your accident claim may be denied.
Mistake #6 – Accepting A Quick Insurance Settlement
Comprehensive insurance settlements will take time. Expenses and evidence must be gathered. and injuries must resolve to understand the total value of a claim. Even then, a fair settlement will usually require some skilled negotiation as a first settlement is rarely a comprehensive one.
Mistake #7 – Waiting Too Long To File A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Louisiana’s statute of limitations is governed by Louisiana Civil Code Article 3492. This says that the victim of a car accident has one year from the date of the accident in which to file a lawsuit. While this seems like a reasonable amount of time, a year goes by quickly, especially when you are dealing with injuries and medical treatments.
Mistake #8 – Not Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
Navigating serious injury claims is complicated. Having the experienced assistance of a car accident attorney ensures that your claim is correctly valued, that your legal rights are being protected, and the insurance company is held to the best possible settlement for your injuries. If a fair settlement isn’t possible, your attorney can take the matter to court to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another party, that individual can be held liable for your expenses and other damages. Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, under comparative negligence laws, you can still seek compensation based on the percentage of the other driver’s fault.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Chip Forstall are dedicated to accident victims and their families. If you have been injured in a car accident, call us at (504) 483-3400 or contact us through our contact form to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.