The 10 Biggest Post Car-Accident Mistakes
Posted in Car Accident on February 15, 2018
If you were just involved in an auto accident, you’re dealing with pain, possible disability, and an uncertain future—especially if you’re too hurt to go back to work. To make matters worse, you may already be dealing with the insurance company and its team of adjusters who will use every trick in the book to reduce or deny you the money you deserve.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys are dedicated to helping car accident victims like you navigate the legal obstacles that are common after crashes. And while we can take over virtually every aspect of claims after victims call us, we can’t be there for them until that happens.
Unfortunately, many victims unknowingly jeopardize their health or their rights to compensation in the minutes, hours, and days after their accidents. The right steps to take after crashes aren’t common knowledge among most people, and many victims only become aware of their mistakes long after they happened and the insurance companies have started building cases against them.
Protect Yourself and Your Family—Avoid These Mistakes
No matter when your accident happened, there’s still an opportunity to improve your chances of getting compensation and recovering from your injuries—but there are also opportunities to harm your claim and even worsen your health.
Our 30 years of experience means that we know the ins and outs of the auto accident process, and the 10 biggest and most common mistakes that victims make include:
- Not getting immediate medical attention – Whether you get treated at the scene by paramedics, get transported to an emergency room, or see your doctor immediately after the crash, getting medical treatment right away is essential for protecting your health and your rights to compensation. Injuries aren’t always obvious, and some are internal and take days or even weeks to show up. Getting treated by a medical professional also creates a medical record of your injuries, proving that you were hurt in the crash.
- Not reporting the accident to police – All injury-causing and property-damaging auto accidents in Tennessee must be reported to police. Calling 911 dispatches both a police officer and an emergency medical services ambulance, which is essential if you or someone else was hurt. Some victims neglect to call 911 due to minor property damage or because they think their injuries were minor, only to later develop serious pain and even disability. But without police reports, they may be ineligible to file claims.
- Admitting fault to the other driver, police, or insurance company – Never admit fault for an auto accident at the scene or when speaking with an insurance adjuster. Even if you think you were partially or fully responsible for the crash, it’s important to let the process play out and for evidence to prove what happened. Car accidents are traumatic, and many victims have faulty, incomplete, or missing memories of the events leading up to their crashes. Admitting fault at any point after the crash can jeopardize your chances of getting compensation.
- Talking about the accident on social media or with people outside your immediate family – It’s important to keep all discussion of your accident to a few select people, including your immediate family and your lawyer. It can be difficult to stay quiet about your crash, as discussing it can help you feel better. But insurance adjusters are known to use people’s words against them, whether those words were said in private conversations with friends and co-workers or posted to social media accounts.
- Waiting too long to write down crashed-related information – As previously discussed, it’s important to remember that your memory isn’t infallible—especially after an auto accident. You may forget certain details or mix up facts, including the weather at the time of the crash, the lane you were traveling in, and who had the right of way. That’s why it’s vital to write down everything you can remember about the accident as soon as possible before you forget it or your memory of the accident becomes hazy.
- Not reporting the accident to your insurance company – Auto insurance providers in the U.S. require almost immediate notice from their policyholders when they’re involved in crashes—often within just a few days of their occurrence. Some people believe that it’s not necessary to report accidents with insurance companies if they weren’t at fault, but it’s a requirement for all parties. If you wait too long, you may lose your chance to file a claim for compensation.
- Downplaying your injuries – Many people are hesitant to admit when they’re hurt—even after they’ve suffered serious, debilitating, and disabling injuries. It’s important to remember that auto accidents can produce injuries that are serious enough to cause permanent pain and lost mobility, putting victims out of work for the rest of their lives. Downplaying your injury or pretending it’s not as bad as your doctor says can cost you the accident-related compensation you deserve.
- Exaggerating your injuries – While you should never dismiss your injuries to your doctor, the insurance company, or your lawyer, you also shouldn’t exaggerate them. Be truthful and accurate when talking about things like mobility, pain level, and the locations of your injuries. Exaggerating or fabricating additional injuries after a crash can lead to the insurance company rejecting your claim, even if you did suffer serious injuries during the accident.
- Accepting an initial settlement offer – Insurance companies know that victims are often in shock and worried about making ends meet immediately after crashes, especially when they’re facing big medical bills and significant time away from work. They put together settlement offers that often seem substantial, but are rarely sufficient to cover long-term medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, accepting an initial settlement offer generally means forgoing the right to pursue additional compensation, and when that money runs out, you may be out of options.
- Waiting too long to contact an attorney – Tennessee has a fairly short statute of limitations for filing car accident claims: one year after the date of the crash is the deadline. And while one year may seem like a long time, it can come and go faster than you might think, especially when it comes to filing a legal claim. In addition, evidence that’s crucial to your claim can quickly disappear—often in a matter of days. If you wait too long to contact a lawyer, it can be more difficult to prove that the accident wasn’t your fault and that your injuries happened during the crash.
Don’t be afraid to get in touch with a lawyer and pursue compensation. At our law firm, we’ve helped many victims who have never needed an attorney before and are unfamiliar and even intimidated by the legal process. We make it easy for you to maximize your chances of getting the money you deserve. We know that you’re in pain and just want to get better, so let us handle the legal paperwork and negotiations with the insurance company while you focus on getting better.
Get the Legal Advocate You Deserve—Call Matt Hardin Law Today
Trying to get full compensation on your own after an auto accident is an uphill battle. Insurance companies make billions of dollars every year by reducing or denying claims, and they have teams of adjusters whose sole job is to find ways to make that happen.
You need an experienced team of Nashville car accident lawyers on your side to level the playing field. We’ve helped victims like you for three decades, and we know what it takes to win. Call us at (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online contact form. We’re here to help, and we’re ready to get to work for you and your loved ones.