Saturday 3rd October 2020
A car accident can result in painful injuries, some of which can be permanent. Fortunately, you can file an insurance claim, and you may even have reasons to file a car accident lawsuit to compensate for expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. However, the decisions and steps you make in the minutes, hours, and days after your car accident can affect your eligibility for compensation or reduce the value of your claim.
Avoid These Common Mistakes After a Car Accident.
1. Do not call law enforcement to the scene of the accident
Some accident victims do not call the police to respond to an accident. Sometimes you think that your car is still drivable or that the damage is so minor, why bother at all? Unfortunately, New Jersey law requires you to report any traffic accident that results in significant property damage greater than $ 500, personal injury, or death. This means that you should report any accident unless it really is a small fender bender. You have 10 days to fill out a police report when law enforcement is not on hand.
In addition, the police report serves as evidence of the accident. The insurance company, another driver, or their attorney may have difficulty denying your claim or arguing that you have already suffered injuries when law enforcement arrives at the scene, investigates the accident, and files an official report.
2. Leaving the scene of a car accident
Even if you didn’t cause a car accident, if you leave the scene of the accident, you are undermining your credibility and potentially damaging your claim. Anyone involved in a car accident is required by law to remain at the scene of the accident, share information with other parties involved, and help obtain the necessary medical care. Leaving the scene of an accident in the event of injury or death can result in fines and prison sentences.
You can contact an accident scene attorney if you are unsure of what to do, but you should never leave. Staying at an accident scene also preserves evidence that investigators use to determine liability. Proof of failure is key to redressing injury losses. Your lawyer can use the evidence from the scene of the accident to support your case.
3. Do not seek immediate medical attention
A common strategy for insurance companies to deny claims or reduce the value of a claim is to argue that a victim of a car accident was previously injured, or that the injuries are not as severe as a victim’s.
If you are examined by a doctor for frequent car crash injuries shortly after an accident, then pain, discomfort, or physical injury will be part of your medical record. This evidence of your injuries makes it much more difficult for insurance companies to contest your claim.
In addition, some auto accident injuries do not show symptoms immediately. You may not have aches or pains for hours or days, especially if you’ve had a traumatic brain injury or soft tissue injury such as whiplash. If you don’t seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, you also risk more harm.
4. Admit mistakes
The culpable driver is financially liable for damage in connection with an accident damage. Insurance companies and lawyers thoroughly investigate auto accident claims to uncover facts, determine liability, or at least shift blame. As soon as a driver admits a mistake, he helps the other side.
Admitting to fault is ultimately like accepting financial liability for damage in a car accident. The other side has to prove that you caused the accident before you are financially liable. Your inclusion is better than the evidence.
Also, don’t accidentally admit mistakes (such as a polite apology for the circumstances). When law enforcement officers ask direct questions, never lie; never say more than necessary.
Have your attorney and law enforcement officers uncover the facts of the accident. In situations where you believe you are 100 percent to blame, you may be only partially liable for the other driver’s actions.
5. Don’t collect evidence
Some accidents are too severe for car accident victims to collect their own evidence. In these cases, emergency teams arrive quickly and law enforcement agencies gather evidence to file a police report. However, when accidents do occur and the drivers can still function after the accident, some fail or choose not to collect evidence on the spot. This is a mistake because sometimes the police get something wrong or miss something.
Accident victims who fail to take the time to gather contact information, take photos on the spot and obtain testimony are forcing their lawyers and insurance companies to rely on the police report.
Official crash reports contain many facts, but they are only one version of the accident. In addition, the officer did not witness the accident, so his narrative may not be reliable. Any relevant evidence that you can get at the scene of the accident shortly after the accident will give your lawyer a better chance of protecting you.
6. Failure to report the accident to your insurance company
Car accident victims sometimes choose not to report their accident to the insurance company. In some cases, the driver is fine and the property damage is minor that he or she does not want to go through the trouble. In fact, the driver at fault may have asked the other driver not to report the accident to the insurance company. In other cases, a car accident victim will discover that the other driver caused the accident, so all they need to do is report the accident to the other driver’s carrier.
First, New Jersey is a healthy state. New drivers and those who have not been previously involved in an accident may not understand their mandatory PIP insurance. You should always report an accident to your insurance company immediately so that your PIP coverage begins to pay for medical treatment and lost wage benefits up to the insurance limit.
In addition, most insurance companies require drivers to report an accident if the driver’s insurance is in place, even if you are certain that the other driver is at fault. Failure to report the accident may, in some situations, result in the claim being denied and / or the policy being canceled.
7. Post on social networks
The insurance company’s investigators and / or their legal team use every strategy in their game book to find a way to devalue your claim. This includes extracting information from your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Posting on social media after a car accident can be a costly mistake. The insurance company’s investigators could even use seemingly innocent facts against an accident victim. The same applies to the publication of pictures of the accident or injuries. It is best to keep all evidence between you and your lawyer.
Social media posts unrelated to a car accident can also damage a car accident injury claim. Investigators can use pictures from family vacations or a night on the town to argue that injuries are healing faster than expected or that the injuries weren’t as severe as the victim claimed, even when they weren’t. There is no need to close your social media accounts after a car accident, but it is in your best interest not to post until your claim is resolved.
8. Trustworthy insurance specialists
Shortly after a car accident, an expert from the insurance company of the culpable driver and / or an expert from your insurance company will likely contact you to ask questions about the accident. Typically, Adjusters record these interviews.
Some car accident victims make the mistake of treating a adjuster like a friend and accidentally saying something to violate their claim. Insurance agents learn to interact with people and get accident victims to say harmful things.
You don’t have to be rude to the hirer, but keep the conversation to a minimum and direct the questions to your attorney. You should consult an attorney before having an expert record you. This can protect the value of your claim by preventing you from accidentally saying something that the adjuster may twist and use against you.
9. Acceptance of the first billing offer
Insurance companies don’t pay claims, and when they have to pay they want to reduce their financial liability as much as possible. One tactic that many insurance companies use is to offer a quick fix to car accident victims. Serious injuries prevent accident victims from working and create financial burdens because, in addition to physical pain, injuries incur medical bills. These offers are often insultingly low, but enough to seduce victims struggling with money as a result of a car accident.
The acceptance of the first comparison offer is problematic for two reasons. First, lawyers are trained negotiators who have experience working with insurance companies and know how to respond to their low bids. A qualified auto accident attorney can often get a far better comparison offer for a customer than the customer could secure themselves.
Second, if a victim of a car accident accepts an offer to settle, they must also waive their right to take future legal action. If you take an early offer, especially before you have a long-term forecast for your injuries, you may not be able to get the compensation you deserve and need for your injuries.
10. Wait too long to take action
Car accident victims who fail to take immediate action risk losing their eligibility for compensation for damages related to their car accident injuries. New Jersey generally has a two year statute of limitations for accident victims to bring a lawsuit against the culprit driver.
The courts strictly adhere to the statute of limitations, so if you file a lawsuit beyond the two-year period, they are unlikely to hear your case. The law provides for a few rare exceptions; Your attorney can review your case to see if you qualify for an exception if the statute of limitations has expired.
© 2020 by Console and Associates. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 277