If you have been involved in a car accident, contacting a car accident attorney as soon as possible is important for obtaining the compensation you deserve. When the time comes to file your claim, there are several common mistakes that you need to avoid. Here is what you need to know.
Mistake No. 1: Saying too much at the accident scene
Whether it’s admitting liability in some way or saying the accident was not your fault, it is always a bad idea to say anything that relates to liability. The best advice is to say as little as possible until you have spoken to your car accident attorney. When you report the accident to your insurance company, which you are required to do within a certain period of time, only give them the facts and nothing more. Insurance companies are not on your side. Their job is to try to pay as little as possible on your claim, so don’t stray beyond the basic facts. Be sure to let them know that you were injured and you intend to seek medical treatment. Beyond that, let your car accident attorney do the talking.
Mistake No. 2: Settling too soon for too little
Another common mistake in car accident cases is settling too soon. You are not required to accept the first settlement offer an insurance company makes to you. In fact, it is wise in most cases not to. If you settle too soon, you run the risk of limiting your recovery because all of your losses may not be known. Right after the accident, your physical injuries are not always known because it can take days or weeks for pain and injuries to manifest themselves. A car accident attorney knows when to reject a settlement offer and how to negotiate for the compensation you deserve.
Mistake No. 3: Signing a waiver before you talk to your attorney
In addition to attempting to limit your settlement amount, car insurance companies often pressure car accident victims into signing a waiver. The purpose of a waiver is to get you to accept a check while agreeing you won’t file a lawsuit for your claims. If you sign a waiver or release you are forfeiting your legal right to recover for your injuries. You should not sign a release until you are sure you are satisfied with your settlement, so do not be afraid to speak to your attorney first and let them review the waiver or release. Once you sign, it’s too late.
Mistake No. 4: Making mistakes on the accident claim form
When the time comes to fill out the insurance claim form, it is important that it is done completely and accurately. If there are mistakes on the form, it could result in a delay in processing your claim. It could even result in your claim being denied altogether. You need to make sure you provide as much detail as you can about the accident. The information you provide will be compared to the police report as part of investigating your claim. The best choice is to have your personal injury attorney help you with your claim.
Mistake No. 5: Not filing your insurance claim in time
Possibly a worse mistake than providing inaccurate information on your insurance claim form is filing it after the deadline. Each insurance company has its own deadlines for filing a claim after a covered accident. If you do not meet that deadline, you might end up forfeiting your rights to certain benefits. If you are unclear about the time limit after looking at your insurance policy, contact your claims adjuster to clarify the requirements.
Potential recovery you can expect from a car accident
The purpose of a lawsuit is to be compensated for the injuries you sustain as a result of someone else’s negligence. The only way you can be compensated is monetarily. Another purpose of the lawsuit is to hold the at-fault driver accountable for the injuries and losses you sustain during the accident. The amount and type of recovery to which you may be entitled depends on many factors. Your personal injury attorney can help you with these and other issues following a car accident.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.