There are many “Do’s and Don’ts” following an auto accident. There are innumerable examples mistakes made, wherein drivers or victims “forfeit” their rights and/or limit their opportunities for fair restitution after being involved in an auto accident.
Below are the “DON’TS”, should you ever find yourself involved in an accident:
1. Failing to call the police. Without having an official police accident record, each driver involved in the accident only has their word against each other as to what happened and who was at fault. In this case, all claims bear equal weight. I promise you, after people leave the scene and talk to their spouse, co-worker, friend, etc…, the story often changes. MAKE SURE you take the time to get a police record of what actually occurred.
2. Trusting that the at-fault driver and his insurance company will work out auto damage repairs and medical injury care. In this case people sometimes change their minds and end up telling different stories than what was initially agreed upon. The other driver’s insurance company is more likely to believe him—absent solid proof. To help in the proof department, see No. 1 above.
3. Giving recorded statements to an insurance company immediately following an accident. You are not required to give any official statement to any insurance company. You shouldn’t even consider something like this until you have discussed your situation with an Attorney first—even if the insurance company is your own. THIS IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT PEOPLE MAKE THAT ULTIMATELY COMPROMISES THEIR VALID CLAIMS.
4. Not collecting witness information, passenger information, and other drivers’ information. Without a paper trail of evidence or statements, a claim can be much more difficult to handle. If there are witnesses, take the time to get their name and number, especially if they don’t have the time to wait around for the police to come.
5. Forgetting or not notifying your insurance company. You’ve paid your insurance premiums, but forgetting to call them after an accident can result in out of pocket costs that the insurer should otherwise cover. However, remember No. 4. Legal guidance can be crucial in these circumstances.
6. Automatically admitting fault after an accident. Be fair to yourself, this accident may not have really been your responsibility. Oftentimes, people in accidents second guess themselves (was that light really green?) I know this, because I have done this myself. Be careful what you say.
7. Not consulting with a lawyer. Failing to obtain any kind of legal representation may result in relinquishing your rights to the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies want to pay you zero. If they have to pay something, they then want to pay as little as possible. You have rights. Seek the advice of an experienced, personal injury specialist. The good ones will consult for no charge. Learn your rights from an expert, before you try to go it alone.
Many would be surprised of how often these mistakes occur. Although we hope you don’t have to face a situation after an accident, it is always better to be safe, than sorry.
You have rights. You are not a bad person for protecting your rights, and, if you don’t protect yourself, I can virtually assure you, no one else will. A phoenix car accident lawyer can help you in these types of situations. It is advised to seek one should you ever be involved in an accident.