Few people know what to do after a bad car accident and it winds up costing them a lot of money.
Too many seriously injured accident victims make after-crash errors that get their claims reduced or rejected.
Knowing what to do after a car accident in Texas and Oklahoma can be the difference between getting the money you need to recover from accident-related injuries and having to pay for expensive treatment out of your own pocket.
Hoover Rogers Law's experienced car accident attorneys understand that knowledge is power, so we've put together some general tips about how to avoid making a post-crash mistake.
If you take nothing else from this article, remember: do not talk to insurance adjusters about the details of your crash before getting a free case consultation with an attorney.
Common Mistakes After a Crash
Maybe it was a hard hit by a semi-tractor trailer on I-40, a head-on collision on Main Street, or a rear-end accident along the Red River - whatever the situation, as the victim you are likely injured, dazed, and pumping with adrenaline.
This would be a vulnerable time for anyone, which is why so many victims make common mistakes after a crash. Here are some errors to avoid:
Not Reporting the Accident. You do need to report the incident to the police so they can investigate. By law, police must be informed about any accident that causes significant injury, death, and/or more than $1,000 in property damage. In addition, most insurance policies require you to report the accident promptly to your insurance carrier. Failure to do so can jeopardize your claim.
Sharing Too Much Information. The time immediately after a bad accident is a minefield for accident victims as shrewd insurance adjusters seek to get you to say something they can use against you. Both at the accident scene and in your report to your insurance company, keep your comments brief and stick to the facts of what happened. Don't say anything about fault, and don't apologize — that could be construed as an admission of fault.
Not Seeing A Doctor Right Away. In the wake of a car accident, your adrenaline is high and you're not in a position to diagnose yourself. Even if you feel okay, you may be suffering from internal injuries that you cannot yet feel but a medical professional can identify and treat. Get checked out by a paramedic or EMT at the crash scene, then go to the hospital, urgent care, or your primary care doctor for an exam.
Getting medical help is not only important for your health, but also your claim. Medical records are critical evidence in injury claims. The sooner you see a doctor, the less opportunity an insurance adjuster has to argue that your injuries stem from another incident and not the car accident.
Giving a Recorded Statement. Any recording can be taken out of context or even altered to suit the insurance company's purposes. Plus, you only get one chance in a recorded statement; if you slip up and say something you shouldn't have, it's on the record for good. If the insurance company asks for your permission to record a call, decline. If they request an official statement from you, say "I need to talk to my attorney first." You can sit down with your lawyer to craft a written statement that accurately tells your side of the story and protects your interests.
Signing Away Rights. The insurance company may request access to your personal data, like medical records. They may imply that they just want to look at your post-accident medical evaluation to trick you into signing a broad release that lets them comb through your records for pre-existing conditions. Do not sign anything from an insurance company before consulting an attorney.
Taking a Lowball Settlement Offer. Insurance companies often make an offer shortly after an accident that seems generous on its face. That's because they know once you've accepted their money, that's it; you can't go back for more, even if your costs turn out to be higher than you thought. They may say it's the best they can do, but that's rarely the case. Always speak with a car accident lawyer before you decide whether to accept a settlement.
Not Contacting An Attorney. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make after an accident. Some don't bother with a free consultation because they don't think their case is big enough for a lawyer to take on, or they think they can't afford exceptional legal services.
If you were injured in a car accident, your case is serious enough to be worth at least talking to a lawyer. Experienced car accident attorneys, like those at Hoover Rogers Law, know how to determine how much money you need to make a full recovery and maintain it for a lifetime. We create strong, evidence-backed arguments for maximum compensation that the insurance companies find difficult to ignore.
Our personal injury and car accident attorneys represent injured accident victims on contingency. This means that there is no up-front fee for our services. Our fee is a percentage of your final settlement or verdict. If we don't get you compensation, we don't get paid.
We Fight For Your Rights
Contact Hoover Rogers Law today to schedule your free case consultation. A member of our team will explain how the law applies to your specific case and help you weigh your legal options. There is no obligation. Call, email, or chat online with us right now.