Too often, a personal injury victim is involved in an accident and makes poor decisions due to the emotional stress and interruption it creates in their lives. By acting too quickly, these people lose sight of the full picture and walk away without proper compensation for their injuries. Do not make this mistake. Below, you will find a short list of mistakes to avoid following an accident:
Failing to Obtain Medical Care Quickly
Many accident victims think they can shake it off following an accident. You should be seen by a health care provider immediately. Many serious injuries, especially to the structures of the back and neck, might not be apparent for hours and even days after a collision. If you have a substantial injury not apparent to you, it is critical it be diagnosed and treated. You need doctors to begin documenting your injuries right away. Insurance companies love the argument that you would have gotten medical attention right away if you were really hurt. Failing to get help right away will make it difficult to convince adjusters or juries that you have a serious injury.
Failing to Call the Police
There is never a good reason to not contact the police. More importantly, it is against the law in Colorado to not call the police when a collision involves injuries. Sometimes, the negligent party will plead with you not to report the accident. They will profess their fault and tell you how sorry they are. No matter how tempted you might be to help them out of a jam, do not do it! Consider the possibility the wrongdoer gives false information or lies to their insurance company about how the collision occurred. By having the accident properly investigated by a police officer, you can discourage this kind of behavior.
Signing a Written Statement
Putting anything in writing after an accident is a bad idea. This applies both to your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company. It is especially important to look over your policy carefully before determining how to proceed with your insurer.
Admitting fault means you are accepting full liability for the accident. it is wiser to state what happened as clearly and reasonably as you can. Claims adjusters for the insurance company, police, and even attorneys will help determine who is liable.
Saying you are sorry or that you wish the car accident did not happen can be used against you as a statement of fault. You can see how easily your words can be twisted against you. Be very careful what you say. Also, do not get emotional and do not express your opinion.
Turning down EMS
If you feel you may have an injury, no matter how minor, you must be medically examined and treated. It can take hours, days, or even weeks for some effects of an accident to be completely revealed. Seeking medical care immediately protects you in the long run.
Hiding Prior Accidents or Medical History
Insurance companies maintain huge databases of information they share with each other regarding prior accidents and injuries. Your lawyer and medical providers do not have this luxury. If you fail to inform, or misrepresent your history, all credibility will be lost. Your lawyer needs to know everything about your case in order to succeed. If your lawyer knows the bad facts that may hurt your case, he can determine how to deal with them and present them in the most favorable light or at least minimize the damage. This holds true for your doctors as well. It is important that all providers have a complete picture of your health history to treat you properly. Most doctors are more concerned with treating your injuries than in helping you prove your case.
Pain and suffering can be the biggest element of damages. Complaining about or pretending to be worse than you really are is a serious mistake. You will not fool the insurance company or a jury. Insurance companies have hired private investigators to follow claimants around with a video camera. If you claim your back injury prevents you from lifting and playing with your infant child, do not go to the grocery store and carry away 50lb bags of dog food. Your credibility will be destroyed.
Failing to Return to Work When Able
Most victims return to work sooner than they should because of bills. If your doctor advised you to stay out of work, do it. If a doctor did not advise you to stay out of work, you will have a difficult time proving you should be compensated for your time off. If you feel you cannot work, talk to your doctor and explain what your job requires. If you doctor agrees with you, insist on a note. Whether or not you need it for your employer, you will likely need it for your case.
Accepting an Insurance Company Settlement
Keep in mind at all times that the insurance company is a for-profit business which offers settlements that are as low as possible. This is not simply occasional. It is the standard practice.
Not Consulting an Attorney
If you or someone you loved has been involved in a bicycle accident caused by someone else's negligence, it is important to speak with an experienced bike injury lawyer. The attorneys at Bowman & Chamberlain, LLC, have vast experience dealing with bike injury cases. Do not let an unsympathetic insurance company take advantage of you. Call today for a free consultation.
Mistakes to Avoid Following an Accident
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