Common Mistakes People Make After a Car Accident
Car accidents are the most common causes of injuries and deaths in California. This does not, however, make it any easier to deal with the aftermath of a car accident as an injured victim. There are many common mistakes you could make if this is your first time filing a car accident insurance claim or injury lawsuit.
Choosing Not to Call the Police
Many car accident victims choose not to call the cops for fear of getting a ticket or traffic citation. In some cases, one driver wants to call the cops but gets convinced by the other driver (usually the at-fault driver) not to. Do not make the mistake of failing to call the police from the scene of your car accident in California.
State law requires you to report all car accidents that cause injuries, deaths or at least $1,000 in property damage immediately. You may wish to report a more minor accident, as well; especially if it involved a hit-and-run crime or a drunk driver. In addition to obeying the law, calling the police can create an official record of key details, such as whether the other driver was breaking a law at the time of the collision.
Never admit fault for a car accident. Admitting fault at the scene of a crash will automatically place liability for the accident with you, even if the other driver also contributed to the wreck. Rather than confessing fault to the other driver, the police or an insurance company, wait for an investigation to determine who caused the car accident. This can help you protect your right to recover insurance benefits.
Forgetting to Gather Evidence
If you are seriously injured and need emergency medical care right away, don’t worry about collecting evidence until after your release from the hospital. If you can, however, start gathering evidence while still at the scene of your car accident. Do your best to take photographs and videos of the scene, as well as collect the names of everyone involved, including eyewitnesses. Write down your police report number before you leave. If you cannot collect evidence at the scene yourself, trust a friend or family member to do so for you.
Skipping the Trip to the Hospital
It is crucial to receive medical care for any car accident injuries immediately, no matter how minor. Your car insurance company will look to see if you did your part to mitigate your losses by obtaining immediate medical care. If you skipped the trip to the hospital, this could give the insurance company a reason to deny your claim.
Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
Call your insurance company to report the car accident as soon as possible to avoid missing the company’s deadline. Most insurance companies require clients to report car accidents immediately – at least within 24 hours. In addition, if you wish to file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident in California, California’s statute of limitations gives you no more than two years to file the paperwork.
Giving Too Much Information to an Insurance Company
Trusting a car insurance company is another common mistake victims make. The insurance company wants you to settle for as little money as possible to make a profit. Keep this in mind when speaking to an insurance claims adjuster about your car crash. Do not offer too much information and keep your answers short. Do not agree to give a recorded statement, either.
Failing to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Before you accept the first settlement from a car insurance company, consult with a Sacramento car accident attorney for legal advice. You can trust the information you get from an attorney to be in your best interest. A lawyer can accurately evaluate the value of your claim and help you negotiate with an insurance adjuster for a fair settlement. Your lawyer can help you avoid all of the most common mistakes people make after a car accident.