Avoid These Seven Mistakes After a Car Accident
An estimated 130,000 traffic crashes occur each year in our state, Drive Safe Alabama reports. At some point in their lives, one out of every three adults in Alabama will be involved in a car accident. As these statistics show, you could get into a crash every time you get behind the wheel. Still, few of us believe that a crash will ever happen to us. When it does, it seems like a sudden, completely unexpected event.
Whether you are a newly licensed or veteran driver, you may be in shock after an auto accident. You may also have no idea about what you should do next. Unfortunately, if you make the wrong moves, you could hurt your ability to secure full compensation for your losses.
At Serious Injury Law Group, we want you to avoid those costly mistakes. Here are seven mistakes in particular that you should focus on:
- Not Calling the Police
If another driver hits your car, the driver may tell you, “We don’t need to call the police.” Don’t follow that advice. You do need to make that call. You will want a law enforcement officer to secure and document the accident scene and to prepare a crash report. Typically, within 10 days after the crash, you can go online and order a copy of the report.
- Failing to Get Medical Attention
If EMTs do not take you to a hospital, you need to take yourself to one. A doctor should check you for injuries and treat you as soon as possible. You need to protect your health. You may have a brain injury, back injury, organ injury or soft tissue damage that you won’t be able to detect on your own. You also need to protect your legal rights. If you wait too long to see a doctor, an insurance company may claim that your injuries are unrelated to your accident.
- Not Reporting Your Accident to Your Insurance Company
If you look at your auto insurance policy, you may see that you are required to report any accident to the insurer within a certain number of hours or days. Comply with that requirement. Down the road, you may need to file a claim with your own insurer. If you fail to timely report the accident, the insurer could try to deny your claim.
- Talking with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
On the other hand, you do not need to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. If an insurance claims adjuster calls you and asks for a recorded statement, requests access to your medical records or makes a settlement offer, you should refer the adjuster to your lawyer. You don’t want to say something that the insurer will use against you. You also don’t want to accept a settlement that fails to fully compensate you.
- Failing to Keep Your Own Case File
You should use a box or folder to keep all accident scene and injury photos, eyewitness contact information, medical bills, auto repair or car rental receipts, insurance company letters or e-mails and everything else related to your car accident. If you fail to keep these items in a safe place, you could lose track of them.
- Discussing Your Case on Social Media
Today, people share almost everything about their lives on social media. However, you really should not talk about your crash or your injuries on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. An insurance company may try to use your words or photos to deny or minimize your financial recovery. It may actually be a good idea to stay away from social media altogether until your case is over.
- Waiting Too Long to See a Lawyer
You generally must file a personal injury lawsuit in Alabama within two years after the date of your auto accident. This is called the statute of limitations. If you do not meet this deadline, you could lose your right to file a lawsuit. This is why you should meet with a lawyer about your crash as early as possible. Your lawyer will need time to investigate your case and, if necessary, to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
If you were recently involved in a car accident in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile or elsewhere in Alabama, don’t wait to call Serious Injury Law Group. We are ready to listen to you and help you to pursue all compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Chuck James is a Mobile native who graduated from University of Alabama. Chuck has been practicing law since early 2000. Contact Chuck James today for help with your personal injury case. Free consultations. Locations in Birmingham and Montgomery.