Common Mistakes Injury Victims Make After an Accident
Despite how common accidents are, many people may not know what to do when faced with these situations. It is important to know what steps to take and what mistakes to avoid from the moment the accident occurs to when you begin filing an insurance claim.
Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you throughout the legal process to help you avoid mistakes that could devalue your case. Our attorneys have helped secure millions in compensation for injury victims.* Give us the opportunity to fight on your behalf for the compensation you need.
Below, we discuss the common mistakes injury victims make during a claim and how to avoid them.
NOT REPORTING THE ACCIDENT
Reporting the incident to the police or other relevant authorities is a vital first step. This helps to establish basic facts about the accident, such as where, when and how it happened.
If you were injured in a car accident, you should immediately report the crash to the police by calling 9-1-1. It is important to note that you are only legally required to report a crash if someone is injured, killed or there is over $500 of property damage. However, it is often a good idea to get the police involved because an accident report contains critical details about the crash and who may be responsible.
OTHER PERSONAL INJURIES
In cases of a slip and fall or another type of accident, you should report the incident to the proper authority in the situation. For example, you would report the accident to a manager or property owner if you are injured in a grocery store or on some other private property.
Failure to report the accident could result in a lack of evidence to support your claim. It could also jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
FAILING TO SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION
Injury victims may make the mistake of not seeking medical attention for their injuries. This mistake is especially common when victims think the accident was a minor one. Unfortunately, many victims may develop symptoms of an injury days, weeks or months later.
If you wait too long to see a doctor after an accident, your injuries may turn out worse than if had you gotten immediate medical treatment. An injury that only would have required three weeks of physical therapy could turn into months of care. This mistake is costly, and the insurance company will likely try to deny paying.
Not seeking immediate medical attention also makes it harder to link the accident to your injuries. Leaving a large gap between the incident and when you visit a doctor is also a mistake. This gives the insurance company an excuse to claim your injuries were not due to the accident, and therefore they bear no liability.
It is in your best interest to call an ambulance to the scene after an accident. Doing so allows you to be evaluated by a medical professional who can make an initial determination about your injuries.
INADVERTENTLY ADMITTING FAULT
This mistake can be an easy one to make. Saying things like “I’m sorry” or “I wasn’t paying attention” could inadvertently pin the blame for an accident on you.
Remember that fault may not be so easily distinguishable in some accidents, and the insurance company is likely to seize any opportunity to blame you.
After an accident, try not to say too much. Get the necessary contact and insurance information from the other party or parties involved and wait for police to arrive.
POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The insurance company can monitor your public online activity to find anything to use against you. That not only includes posts about your injuries and the accident, but also social media posts that contradict your claims about being injured. For example, pictures or videos of you participating in physical activities you say you cannot do.
It is best to avoid social media throughout the process of an accident claim as the insurance company will look for any opportunity to deny your claim.
If you cannot stay off these sites, consider making all your accounts private. Additionally, only accept friend requests from people you know and avoid posting anything that could be used against your case.
AGREEING TO A SETTLEMENT WITHOUT TALKING TO A LAWYER
Following an accident, the insurance company may often contact a victim with an offer to settle a claim before the person has an opportunity to determine the extent of his or her damages.
Insurers usually do this to avoid dealing with an attorney. They know having an attorney makes an injury victim more likely to negotiate a higher settlement or take the case to court to recover maximum compensation.
If you settle your claim before speaking to an attorney, you may not be able to recover the full compensation you are owed. Insurers rarely take pain and suffering or other damages into account when making an offer. With an attorney on your side, you have someone with legal knowledge of what compensation you can pursue and how much your case may be worth.
INJURED? CALL US TODAY
Our attorneys are prepared to help you file a claim to pursue the compensation you need following an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim. There are no upfront fees, and we do not charge you anything unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
Call (800) 518-0508 to schedule a free consultation.