Mistakes To Avoid After A Car Accident
As you probably imagine, over a lifetime, almost everyone is going to be involved in at least two or three car accidents. It doesn’t matter if you are the best driver in Texas. You cannot control what other drivers do on the road.
As an Edinburg car accident law firm, we know that it’s not difficult to get into a traffic accident in Texas. In 2016, a crash in this state was reported every 57 seconds, and 265,076 traffic injuries were reported.
Even if you’ve done nothing wrong and you’re entirely “in the clear,” you or one of your passengers could be seriously injured by the negligence of another driver.
WHAT ARE THE FOUR MISTAKES YOU MUST AVOID AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
If you’re injured in Texas because another driver was negligent, these are the mistakes you must not make:
1. not seeking prompt medical treatment
2. not collecting evidence
3. falsely representing how you were injured or the extent of your injuries, or both
4. not seeking good legal representation promptly
WHY IS PROMPT MEDICAL TREATMENT SO IMPERATIVE?
You must seek medical treatment if you’ve been injured because another motorist was negligent. This may sound obvious to you, but some people endlessly procrastinate and put off going to a hospital or seeing a doctor. Some worry about the cost. Some simply don’t “believe in” doctors.
However, even trivial injuries require a medical examination, and after a traffic collision, you need to be examined right away – even if you’ve never felt better, and for a number of reasons.
A trivial, latent, or difficult-to-detect injury may slowly – or sometimes quickly – become a serious medical condition. For your own health and peace of mind, even if you feel fine, have a medical exam at least within 24 hours of any traffic accident that you’re involved in.
WHAT’S THE SECOND REASON A MEDICAL EXAM IS IMPERATIVE?
The second reason why you must have that medical exam promptly is legal rather than medical. If a trivial, latent, or undetected injury becomes a more serious condition, and you need to file an injury claim, the insurance company will demand to know why you did not seek treatment.
That can complicate your claim. The insurance company might tell you that if you didn’t seek medical treatment, you must not have been injured very seriously. Your claim could be denied.
Submitting promptly to a medical examination establishes the documentation that you’ll need if you have to file an injury claim or take legal action to seek compensation for your medical expenses.
Don’t underestimate your injuries after an auto accident. Get treated or examined. It’s a must.
WHAT EVIDENCE WILL YOU NEED TO COLLECT?
If you’ve been injured because another motorist was driving negligently, after you’ve obtained medical treatment, your next priority is to obtain reliable legal advice and representation as quickly as possible.
Put your case – immediately – in the hands of an experienced Edinburg auto accident attorney.
A good accident lawyer will help you in a number of ways, but no attorney will be advising you at the scene of the accident. There’s key evidence at the accident scene that you will very much need if you file a personal injury claim, and you are the person who must gather that evidence.
WHY IS GATHERING EVIDENCE AT THE CRASH SITE SO IMPORTANT?
To prevail with a personal injury claim, you must prove that your injuries, caused by someone else’s negligence, have resulted in specific monetary losses, so you must provide precise documentary evidence of those losses.
Do not make the mistake of failing to compile and hold every bit of paperwork or other evidence related to your accident and injuries. Make copies of everything and store them securely.
At the accident scene, after you’ve summoned medical help and law enforcement, ask the police how you will be able to obtain a hard copy of their written accident report. In personal injury cases arising from traffic crashes, that accident report is important evidence.
HOW CAN PHOTOS AND EYEWITNESSES HELP YOU?
At the accident scene, take plenty of photos. Photographs are powerful evidence in personal injury cases. Take photos of the damage to the vehicles, the general accident location, and your own injuries.
If you’re incapacitated by the accident, ask someone to help. Make certain that you have photos of the license plates of all the vehicles that are involved in the accident.
If there were eyewitnesses to the collision, try to get their names, phone numbers, and other contact information. Your attorney may need their statements or testimony. Don’t be shy. Complete strangers who will testify on your behalf are often quite persuasive witnesses.
Don’t forget, of course, to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers. You’ll need to contact your auto insurance company too, but don’t make any statement or provide any details to any auto insurance company before consulting an injury attorney.
WHY IS COMPLETE HONESTY ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY?
You must not misrepresent, overstate, or exaggerate any of the facts regarding the traffic accident or your own medical condition. Falsely representing or exaggerating the details can damage or entirely discredit your personal injury claim, and it can get you in deep legal trouble.
Your credibility will be scrutinized when you pursue a personal injury claim. You’ve been injured, and you want justice, so you may feel passionate and insistent. But exaggeration cannot help.
Moreover, any intentional deception – even just a little – could have severe legal consequences, such as a criminal charge for insurance fraud.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE?
Not seeking legal representation – and not seeking it promptly – is the biggest mistake that you can make if you’ve been injured because another motorist was negligent.
The negligent driver’s auto insurance company will probably contact you right away – in just two or three days after the accident. You need to be able to refer to the insurance company’s representative to your personal injury lawyer.
Don’t sign any insurance documents or make any statements to the insurance company regarding the accident and your injury. Do not accept a quick settlement offer – you’ll be waiving your right to take any legal action or seek any additional compensation.
Let an experienced Edinburg auto accident attorney talk to the insurance company for you. Accident attorneys are trained negotiators who handle these matters routinely, usually reaching an out-of-court settlement that’s acceptable to all parties involved.
EXACTLY WHAT WILL YOUR ATTORNEY DO ON YOUR BEHALF?
Your attorney will investigate the accident, review the evidence, interview the witnesses, and negotiate aggressively for the maximum available compensation.
Every injured victim of negligence in this state is entitled by law to full compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and all related damages.
If an acceptable settlement offer is not forthcoming – and that is rare – a personal injury attorney will take your case to trial and ask a jury to award you the compensation you need and deserve.
Don’t make the biggest mistake. If your health and your future are in the balance, get the legal help you need immediately. Having a good lawyer’s help is your right.