A car accident can be emotionally and financially draining. Make sure you know how to protect yourself and your case. Here are 10 costly mistakes that can ruin your auto accident case.
1. Not Taking Proper Precautions at the Scene of the Accident
After an accident occurs, it is crucial that you adhere to your obligations as a responsible driver. You should accept prompt medical attention both at the scene and immediately after the accident, call the police and file a report (don’t admit fault or apologize), exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s), document the scene of the accident (take pictures and videos of the cars, the surroundings, the weather, etc), and collect witness testimony. The more information you gather, the better.
2. Not Retaining a Lawyer
Utilize the expertise of a qualified accident lawyer. Lawyers are trained to navigate the legal system – let them do it! You do not want to sign your away your rights or accept a lowball settlement. You have the right to a fair payout.
Do not lie to the police, your insurance adjuster, your lawyer, or your doctor. The consequences could be disastrous. Be honest and thorough. This means that if you do not know something or are not sure of something, say that.
4. Talking About Your Case
Do not talk to insurance adjusters or defense lawyers about your case. They can and will use what you say against you. If anyone questionable asks you about your case, have him call your lawyer.
5. Posting on Social Media
Do not post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or blogs about your accident. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will look for any information that could hurt your case.
6. Poor Presentation
Make sure that you present yourself well to all people who could impact the success of your case. Make sure that nothing on your email or voicemail and ringtones can be perceived as offensive. It is also important that you be polite and dress and act appropriately. Your likeability makes a difference!
7. Disposing of Your Documents
Keep all evidence of your accident and personal injuries. Keep all reports, legal documents, medical files, photos, and videos.
8. Being Unprepared for Insurance Medical Examinations (IME)
You must tell your lawyer when your insurance company sends you to an IME. These doctors are not independent, but rather hired by your insurance company to find “nothing wrong” with auto accident victims. Similarly, if your doctor sends you to a new doctor or to get another test, consult your lawyer.
9. Missing Appointments
Unless there is a very good reason, do not miss appointments with your doctors or lawyers. Not going to the doctors and not acting on their advice can be interpreted as a sign that you are not really hurt or taking your case seriously. If you are injured, it is important that you show the effort you are putting into your recovery.
10. Bad Communication
You must establish good communication with your lawyer. This means that you should tell your lawyer everything that may be relevant to your case, like a change in job function or salary.