5 Things to Avoid After a Car Accident
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident or other personal injury accident, you know how confusing and uncertain things can be. After a car accident, it is important to act carefully and deliberately. There are also a number of things that an injured car accident victim should avoid at all costs. Doing any of these 5 things can have a negative impact on your claim, and in some cases can preclude recovery all together.
Leave the Scene of an Accident
You should never leave the scene of an accident. Not only is it a huge issue with respect to gathering useful information, in most states, it is a criminal act to leave the scene of an accident. In some states, such as in Florida, a hit and run can be considered a felony
Fail to Collect Crucial Evidence
In the American Legal System, a personal injury victim has the burden of proving their case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that collection evidence is key to the success of an injured party. The scene of a car accident is the absolute best place to gather this information. Photographic and video evidence is often the key to proving liability and fault. Without this evidence, proving fault can be much more difficult, time consuming and expensive.
Make Statements About Fault
The scene of a car accident is not the place to argue about who is at fault. However, many people naturally will argue about this – due to adrenaline, fear or rage. After a shocking event like a car accident, it’s common to feel the need to push the blame onto the other driver, but you must understand that there is a very deliberate and detailed investigation process after an accident. The time and place to determine fault is not in the heat of the moment. It is best to avoid discussing fault at the scene.
Talk to the Other Side’s Insurance Company
After a car accident, it’s likely that you will be contacted by the other parties insurance company. While cooperation is always a good strategy, you need to be aware of everyone’s relative interests in the situation. The other side’s insurance company is often trying to minimize their liability, and pay as little as possible. To accomplish this, they are trained to elicit information that can be harmful to your interests. We advise car accident victims to avoid talking to insurance companies until you have had a chance to speak to a personal injury lawyer.
Attempt Settlement Without Counsel
Most car accident victims want to settle a claim as quickly as possible and try to get back to a sense of normalcy in their lives. While this is understandable, you must be aware that insurance companies will seek to take advantage of unrepresented parties and their unfamiliarity with this complex area of law. When dealing with trained insurance adjusters, having an advocate on your side is invaluable. In fact, one recent study showed that insurance settlements can be as much as 3.5 times higher when a skilled lawyer is involved.
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Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan