Car crashes are stressful, we understand that first hand. One moment you’re cruising down the street and the next you’re pulled over, in pain, and looking at the damage to your vehicle. With everything you have to consider, it’s easy to say the wrong thing and damage your recovery case. Next time you’re in a wreck, remember some of the biggest mistakes people make after a car crash.
Discussing the Crash
Meeting the other driver is nerve-wracking. You never know how they’ll respond; whether they’ll yell and accuse or stay calm and quiet. No matter their attitude, you need to stay calm and reserved. A crash happened, there’s no arguing that. Regardless of who was at fault, it is critical that you do not discuss the crash.
Even if you think you were at fault, do not apologize and do not say sorry. Don’t say you didn’t see them. Don’t say you didn’t have time to react. These words just give the other driver ammunition to shift fault. It sounds ridiculous, but saying the wrong thing after a car crash could make it much harder to get the justice you deserve.
No Police Report
When you talk to your attorney about the car crash, the police report is the first thing they’ll ask for. Police reports are a vital piece of documentation that proves there was a crash and that the other driver’s information is accurate.
A police report documents the property damage, the injuries, and gathers testimony from nearby witnesses. When you have a police report, you’re significantly more likely to make a successful insurance claim.
No Medical Report
You should always go to the doctor immediately after a car crash. Whether you were in a minor fender-bender or had your car totaled in the crash, you need to go to the doctor. The sooner a doctor can examine you, the better your odds of identifying “invisible” injuries like hairline fractures and organ damage.
A medical report is also important to your recovery. If you don’t go to the doctor immediately after the crash, insurance companies may question the severity of your injuries. If you wait more than three days, even if you don’t feel pain immediately after the crash, they may claim that your injuries are unrelated to the car crash. A medical report ensures that your injuries are treated and documented so you get the care you need in a timely fashion.
Agreeing to a Recorded Statement
A few days after the crash, you may get a call from the insurance companies. They’ll sound sympathetic and polite. They’ll ask how you’re doing and if you’d feel comfortable talking about the crash on the record. This is called a recorded statement and it is a trap.
When you provided a recorded statement, your words need surgical precision. The insurance companies are looking for an opportunity to twist your words and justify a smaller settlement. The good news is that you have no obligation to agree to a recorded statement.
The insurance company may warn that they need to hear your side of the story or that they can’t authorize a rental car until you provide a statement. This simply is not true. If an insurance company ever makes these kinds of claims, you should contact an attorney ASAP.
Arguing the Case Alone
Again, we understand that car crashes are stressful. We know that you want to get back to normal as quickly as possible. To that end, you might be tempted to negotiate your car accident case alone, but the numbers are against you.
About 85% of successful car crash claimants are represented by a personal injury attorney. Moreover, those represented by an attorney typically recover triple the compensation of those who represent themselves. While it’s tempting to get back to normal as quickly as possible, you shouldn’t hesitate to hire a professional to handle your case from start to finish.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car crash, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced Brevard County personal injury attorney Henderson & Futchko, P.A. to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (321) 320-7162.