If you have been involved in a car accident and suffered a car accident injury, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do if you want to protect your legal rights. Contacting a car accident attorney is very important, but there are other things you should think about immediately after an accident. If you are wondering – where do I start? Here are a few things to consider.
Be Careful Giving Statements About the Accident
The best advice a car accident injury attorney can give you is to say as little as possible about your accident until you have legal representation. Specifically, it is best not to say anything that relates to who was at fault. Also, never say that you are fine and were not injured. Some injuries do not manifest themselves until hours or days later. Never admit liability and avoid making accusations about the other driver while you are at the scene.
The same is true for making statements to your insurance company. You are required to report the accident, but nothing more. Remember that the insurance company is not representing your best interests. Only your attorney will do that. The goal of the insurance company is to limit the amount they are required to pay out on an accident claim. However, make sure to inform your insurance of any known injuries and confirm that you intend to seek medical treatment.
Make Sure the Accident Claim Form is Accurate
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 an automobile accident attorney help you with your claim.
Be Sure to Promptly File Your Insurance Claim
Possibly a mistake worse 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.
Talk to Your Car Accident Injury Attorney Before Settling
One important mistake to avoid after a car accident is settling your claims too soon. You are not required to accept the first settlement offer you receive from an insurance company. In fact, in most cases, you should not. If you settle too soon it is more likely that you will unnecessarily limit your recovery because all of your losses are not always obvious early on. 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. An automobile accident attorney knows when to reject a settlement offer and how to negotiate for the compensation you deserve.
Don’t Sign a Release Before You Talk to an Automobile Accident 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 an automobile accident attorney first and let them review the waiver or release. Once you sign, it’s too late.
What Can You Recovery 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 with money. 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 depend on many factors. An automobile accident 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 matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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