It is completely understandable that you would be in a certain amount of shock following a car crash. After all, no one expects to be T-boned or rear-ended as he runs errands or heads home from work. Unfortunately, many people do things while in this confused state that later come back to haunt them when they make a claim for a financial recovery. We share this information so that if the worst happens to you, you may have the presence of mind to avoid making some of these mistakes. If you do, you will have a much stronger claim against the at-fault party to be fully compensated for your injuries.
What NOT to Do After a Car Crash
The key to getting maximum compensation for your injuries in a car accident is proving that your actions played no part in the cause of the crash. You will also need to prove that your injuries are real and serious. Sometimes, in the aftermath of a crash, even innocent victims say or do things that will later call into question their level of fault and the seriousness of their injuries. If at all possible, you should avoid doing the following:
- Admitting fault. While most people do not purposely admit they caused an accident, you should avoid even seemingly innocent comments that could be misconstrued. Apologizing to the other driver or saying you did not see them could be used later as an admission of fault. It is better not to make any comments about the crash and stick to just gathering information.
- Not calling the police. Even if the crash seems minor, or you think you may have contributed to the crash, you should call the police. They will investigate the scene and write a report that you may be able to use later to support your claim. Insurance companies often require a police report.
- Delaying medical treatment. It will be difficult for you to claim an injury later if you do not seek immediate medical treatment following the accident. If you are hurt badly enough to require an ambulance, you should go to the ER or urgent care as soon as you can and follow up with your doctor later. Many injuries do not surface until a few days after the accident and you will want documentation that you were evaluated and treated by a physician.
- Not taking pictures. If you or one of your passengers is able, snap some shots of the scene with your cell phone. These could be vital to proving fault later and there may be no other evidence available once the accident is cleared up.
- Not getting information at the scene. As with photographs, your only chance to get contact information for those involved and witnesses is at the scene. If you are able, ask for names and phone numbers at the very least. Take photos of the license plates of other cars involved in the crash.
- Not notifying your insurance company. Even if you do not think you will have to make a claim against your own policy, you should inform your insurer of the crash. Your policy may require it and you may not be able to make a claim later if you do not report the accident.
- Accepting the first settlement offer. If the other driver is clearly at fault, you will probably get an offer from his or her insurance company pretty quickly. In most cases, this will be a lower amount than you are entitled to. Waiting until all damages are known and hiring an attorney to represent you will usually lead to a higher offer.
If you can remember even a few of these tips if you are unlucky enough to be involved in a crash, your settlement could be thousands of dollars more than if you do not.
Always Call an Attorney
No matter what you may have said or done following a crash, an Indiana car accident attorney can help you build a case to support your claim for compensation. Call Keller & Keller as soon as possible after your crash. We will be by your side every step of the way.