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After you have been involved in an auto accident, there are probably a lot of things on your mind. Are you injured? How bad has your vehicle been damaged? Whose fault was it? While these questions are running through your mind, you must do your best to stay calm and make good decisions following the accident.
What Should You Avoid Doing After an Accident?
Here are 7 things NOT to do after you are involved in an accident:
- Opt not to call the police. You should always call the police to the scene of an accident. Even if it seems like a minor accident and you do not believe you have been injured, you should still have an officer report to the scene. The police are important for several reasons. For one, they can help with any immediate needs, such as redirecting traffic and helping you move your vehicle safely. Additionally, the officer will write up an accident report, which will be crucial if you have a personal injury claim.
- Make any admission of fault. Admitting fault, even partially, can be damaging to your case. California is a comparative fault state, meaning that blame for an injury can be shared between multiple parties. If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation can be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. Do not apologize for the accident or admit fault. Stick to the facts about the accident, and if you are unsure of something, it is okay to say “I don’t know.”
- Decide not to see a doctor for your injuries. Accident victims do not always experience symptoms from their injuries right away. Adrenaline from the incident can prevent you from feeling pain, and some injuries can take days or weeks to produce symptoms. It is always advised to be evaluated by a doctor after you have been involved in an accident, even one that seems minor. The doctor will be able to assess you for injuries and help you get the treatment you need, and you will also have a documented record of the injuries you sustained in the crash. This will be important if you decide to file a claim. You can still make a personal injury claim if you’ve waited to see a doctor, but having a record of your injuries immediately after the crash will make the process much smoother.
- Let the at-fault driver pay for your vehicle’s damage instead of reporting the accident to their insurance company. You might think you are doing the other driver a favor, or simplifying the process, by allowing the driver to pay out of pocket for your vehicle’s damage. However, this is generally a big mistake. You have no way of knowing right away how much it will cost to fix your vehicle. Moreover, you need the at-fault driver’s insurance company to have a report of the accident if you decide to file a personal injury claim.
- Discuss the accident with the other party’s insurance company or attorney. The other party’s attorney is looking out for the interest of his client. Additionally, the other party’s insurance company is looking out for the company’s bottom line. Neither of them have your best interests in mind. In fact, the other party’s insurance company is going to look for ways to minimize the amount of your claim. Getting you to admit fault and/or accept an early settlement offer are typical ways for adjusters to reduce your claim amount. Avoid discussing the case with these parties until you have consulted with your personal injury attorney.
- Post about your accident or injuries on social media. There is no doubt we live in a digital era, and it is commonplace for people to post details about their lives online. However, posting information about your accident or personal injury case can be detrimental to your case. Even posting ordinary things about your life could give the opposing party ammunition against your claim. For instance, if you are seeking a certain amount of compensation for pain and suffering and you post about going out with friends or traveling, there is a chance the opposing side could try to use it against you. Even if it seems irrelevant and taken out of context, it could still harm your case. It is much simpler to refrain from posting too much online until your case has been resolved.
- Quickly accept the insurance company’s settlement offer. It is typical for the insurance adjuster to make you an offer to settle the claim shortly after the accident. This usually occurs before the accident victim even has time to evaluate his losses or understand the long-term ramifications of his injuries. Moreover, the initial offer is usually very low and is simply made to quickly settle the case and save the insurance company money. Accepting this offer might seem convenient, but it is usually a bad idea. You should consult with a personal injury attorney before accepting any offer from the insurance company. Once you sign off on the settlement, your case cannot be reopened.
“Making a personal injury claim after an accident can be confusing and complicated, which is why our firm is here to help our clients every step of the way,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.
DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.
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