Nothing can ever quite prepare you for a motor vehicle accident. A car accident is often fast and overwhelming, leaving many in an abnormal mindset. Unfortunately, this causes victims to make mistakes that will significantly impact their personal injury cases in the future.
If you find yourself in a crash, it is important to contact a car crash attorney immediately. Knowing who to reach out to in the event of an accident can help you avoid making detrimental mistakes.
While each case is different, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers have outlined the top actions they advise against.
Failure to File a Police Report
The biggest mistake a car accident victim can make is neglecting to call the police. Even if it is a fender bender, it is important to file an official police report. Without a formal report, the negligent driver can easily deny their role in the accident. It will also make it more difficult for you to receive a full settlement.
As soon as the incident occurs, call 911 or ask a bystander to do so. If the car flees the scene, memorize the color and model. If possible, try to take a photo of their license plate.
Responsible parties should still file a police report even if the victim says there is no need. This can help avoid any future claims against you.
Speaking Without Legal Representation
Insurance adjusters may try to get you to settle for less and may use statements you make against you. Many individuals may try to handle it themselves, but most insurance companies will take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge.
If money is a concern in hiring Los Angeles car accident attorneys, you may want to hire a contingency attorney. They will provide you with a free case evaluation and will represent you at trial on a no-fee basis. Their deep bench of experience and immense knowledge will increase your chances of winning.
You should avoid admitting fault at the scene of the accident, even if you believe you may have been partially responsible. Fault is determined by insurance companies and the court system, and admitting fault can harm your ability to receive compensation.
It is advisable to seek legal representation to avoid unintentionally admitting fault. This is especially important when the full facts of the accident have not yet been determined by law enforcement. While it is important to cooperate with the police, stick to the facts of what you experienced and avoid apologizing.
Settling Too Soon
As mentioned before, the best way to approach car accident claims is by hiring legal representation. Often individuals will settle claims too soon and don’t receive the full amount of compensation they are entitled to. Compensation depends on the different types of car accidents. In most cases, a victim can receive money for all medical bills as well as their pain and suffering.
Each car accident case requires a personalized approach. A Southern California personal injury law firm will work with you to seek compensation as opposed to settling too soon.
Not Seeking Medical Attention Immediately
Even if you feel fine after an accident, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and delayed treatment can lead to more serious complications.
This can also help establish credibility for your personal injury claim. Often, insurance adjusters will try to argue the injuries were sustained after the initial crash. Seeking medical treatment at the scene of the accident can help prove the correlation between the two.
Beyond the initial medical evaluation, it is important to continue to follow the recommended treatment. Failure to do so will not only cause physical complications but can be held against by the opposing insurance companies.
Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
There is a statute of limitations on filing a claim, so waiting too long may harm your chances of receiving compensation. In California, car accident victims have two years to file an injury claim. If your injury isn’t initially discovered, you may be able to file a claim up to one year after it is diagnosed. It is advisable to file as soon as you can to ensure your case moves forward.
Failure to Collect Evidence
Car accidents are traumatic and often leave victims in a frozen or hazy state. If possible, you should try to collect any evidence at the scene of the crash to avoid forgetting later on.
Again, the best thing to do is call the police, even if the damage seems minimal. Their statement will go a long way in proving fault. Photos and witness contact information are also helpful in strengthening your claim.
Posting on Social Media
In the age of social media, it may seem harmless to snap a quick update photo for your friends. However, insurance companies and defense attorneys may use these posts against you. Any online activity can be used as evidence against your claim.
Even if the photos are unrelated to the accident, they can be used to prove your fault or diminish your injuries. This also applies to interactions or check-ins after the accident, such as posting an online review for your local gym. The opposing party may use this against you to claim you are in good health.
Our car accident attorneys highly suggest:
- Setting your account to private
- Not accepting any new requests
- Refrain from posting and ask your friends/family to refrain as well
Taking these actions can help protect you from faulty defense claims.
Car Accident Lawyers (Los Angeles and the Surrounding Areas)
These misjudgments are a few of the many factors that can jeopardize your personal injury claim. Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers are well-versed in the fine details of personal injury cases. We will handle all aspects of the lawsuit so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Don’t make these mistakes. Contact the Law Offices of John J. Perlstein today to receive a free consultation on your case!