Right after a crash occurs, you must work to protect your rights. Unfortunately, many people commit some of the most common mishaps that prevent them from obtaining as much compensation as they deserve. In fact, insurance adjusters will often look for the mistakes you make so that they can minimize or deny your claim.
If you suffer injuries because of someone else’s actions, it is crucial to seek compensation. As such, you should recognize some of the mistakes that you may encounter throughout the process.
These are 5 mistakes that you should avoid after a crash occurs
- Speaking with insurance companies on your own
- Apologizing for the accident
- Leaving the scene without reporting the crash
- Missing out on vital information
- Trying to navigate your claim without a lawyer
Speaking with Insurance Companies On Your Own
Insurance companies hire adjusters who will try to limit the compensation you can recover. They act friendly toward you when discussing your claim because they want you to trust them to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it is just an act. They are more focused on protecting the money that insurance companies have, rather than your rights.
When you speak with insurance adjusters alone, they will look for any reason to take advantage of your rights. Most people will tell you to contact insurance companies immediately after the accident occurs, but it is usually better to speak with a lawyer first to safeguard your rights. A lawyer can stand by your side to navigate the process.
Apologizing for the Accident
There is nothing wrong with empathizing with the other person involved in the car accident. However, you must be careful with regard to what you say. If you start apologizing for the accident, the other driver may take your statement to their insurance company or legal team. Your apology may be misconstrued as an admission of fault.
You can empathize without apologizing. But to be safe, you should instead focus on the information you need. Always remember that what you say can be used against you, even in civil cases.
Leaving the Scene Without Reporting the Crash
While you should contact a lawyer before the insurance company, you may be required to report your crash to local law enforcement officers. Keep in mind; some laws might require you to call law enforcement if you or the other driver or passengers suffered injuries in the crash. It should also be reported if you or the other driver suffers significant property damage.
If you don’t report the accident, it not only looks bad for your claim, but it can also result in criminal charges. Be sure to contact your lawyer to start the claim with the insurance company and call local law enforcement whenever it is necessary.
Missing Out On Vital Information
Whenever you encounter a crash with someone else, you should be sure to share information with the other driver. At the same time, you want to make sure you get the same information from the other driver so that you may start your claim. Without the right information, it can become difficult to start the claims-filing process or hold the right person accountable for their actions.
Information you should exchange with the other driver includes the following:
- The other driver’s license. Remember, a license is essentially a duty of care. If someone has a license, they must follow the laws and drive with everyone’s safety in mind.
- The other driver’s insurance information. You want to be able to seek compensation from the negligent driver, so having their insurance information helps your legal team hold the right people accountable.
- Photos of the accident scene, damage, and injuries. The more photos you take that can help your legal team prove liability, the better. Make sure you take clear photos on your cell phone. You should also take photos of the information from above for your lawyer.
One of the biggest reasons that insurance companies deny claims is because of inaccurate or missing information. Be sure you gather all of the vital information that you need.
Remember, however, that not all information that insurance companies request is necessary or will be used to your advantage. If an insurance company is asking for a recorded statement, you should exercise caution.
Trying to Navigate Your Claim Without a Lawyer
One big mistake you can make is going through the process without a lawyer on your side. If you try to navigate your claim without a lawyer, you risk having insurance adjusters take advantage of your rights. Insurance adjusters may devalue how much your losses are worth. A lawyer, however, protects you from the many tactics that large companies often try to use.
A lawyer can help you fill out paperwork accurately, file your claim with the most helpful evidence possible, and value your losses fairly. A lawyer can also explain the various laws and how they may work in your favor to pursue maximum compensation.
At Shevlin Smith, we work to safeguard your rights against large companies that don’t look out for you when they should. Our team stands on your side every step of the way, protecting you from devious tactics and helping you pursue justice.
Our Fairfax car accident lawyers know how insurance companies work. We will be in your corner every step of the way to help you understand your rights and options. We encourage you to speak with a lawyer at our firm so that you can get answers when you need them most. We’re here for you!