If you have been involved in a car accident, your situation will benefit greatly by retaining the services of a skilled and qualified professional car accident attorney. Many individuals are unaware that it costs nothing to retain an attorney to handle their car accident case. The payment will be due once a settlement has been achieved. A percentage of the settlement will be paid to the attorney for their service; however, the assistance of an attorney is highly to increase the final settlement amount substantially. It is possible for a victim to hurt their case even if they have an attorney. Here are five ways a victim can damage their own case:
- Not calling authorities to the scene of the accident: Once a collision occurs and both parties have been assured that neither are in immediate danger, the police need to be contacted. This should be done regardless of the specific details of the wreck. Individuals tend to have a better recollection of the events of a collision immediately after an accident. The officer responding to the scene will file a report that includes statements and facts about the incident. This allows information to be gathered before memories become fuzzy or before a driver can alter their side of the story. The officer will conduct interviews with witnesses at the location. Witness accounts can be crucial in determining liability in some cases.
- Failure to take photographic documentation and/or exchange insurance information: After the collision, it is vital to exchange insurance information with the other driver and take photographs of the accident. Photographs should be taken of damage done to both vehicles, debris, property damage, skid marks, and other important aspects that can determine liability and/or cause. Visual evidence may be critical during an auto accident case. Take down information from the other driver. Acquire the name of the driver, their insurance company, driver’s license number, and the license plate number of all vehicles involved.
- Giving a statement to the at-fault insurance agency: The victim will likely be contacted by the insurance agency of the at-fault driver. They may seem courteous and helpful, but they are trying to find information that will allow them to avoid paying or reduce the amount of the settlement. Questions and techniques are geared towards proving that their client was not responsible, or that you share responsibility for the accident. It is wise not to give a statement to the insurance agency. Before giving any statement speak with a qualified car accident attorney.
- Not seeking medical attention after an accident: Do not ignore any injuries or pain suffered after an accident. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible to have injuries properly treated and documented. Failing to receive proper treatment could cause injuries to become worse. Insurance companies will not pay for any treatment of injuries after a settlement has been agreed upon. The insurance company may even use the failure to seek medical attention against the victim. They may claim that the injury is from a different incident or that if the injury was severe the victim would have sought treatment immediately.
- Posting on social media: Social media is a major part of our culture. Individuals will post information about dramatic occurrences in their life, including auto accidents. A common mistake is posting negative or inflammatory comments about the at-fault driver or their insurance company. These statements can be used against the individual and their claim. Posting images after the accident that would imply that there are no injuries or pain to the victim’s person can have negative effects on your claim. Insurance agencies may use the pictures to discredit your injury claims to a jury.
Drivers should be aware if they have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in their insurance policy. These policies will usually be around $3,000. The coverage will pay for a portion of medical care after an auto accident. This type of coverage will also allow for the recovery of lost wages in some cases. Some injuries are so severe that PIP coverage will not be enough. Insurance companies will not pay expenses until after the case has been settled. A victim may still need to continue medical treatment before the settlement is reached, for purposes of recovery and to ensure they receive the proper compensation from the settlement. This may call for arranging a lien agreement with an attorney and the victim’s medical professionals. These agreements allow continued medical care under the condition that all medical bills will be paid before the patient receives any money from the settlement.
After any accident, no matter the severity, contact the police. Take photos of the scene of the accident, damage to vehicles and property, skid marks, and other important evidence. Exchange insurance information. Do not give a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company until you have consulted with a car accident attorney. Seek medical attention as soon as reasonably possible. Do not post information about the accident, or images suggesting no injuries were suffered on social media. Following these simple guidelines will not only help a case, but prevent doing any irreparable damage.
The most important step to take after an auto accident is to retain the assistance of a knowledgeable car accident attorney. The experience that a professional car accident lawyer will have from similar cases will help a victim find the right solutions for achieving the maximum compensation for damages and injuries they have suffered. Auto accidents may leave a victim unable to acquire the necessary evidence or time to complete important paperwork required to for an insurance claim or to take a case to court. Retaining an experienced car accident attorney will help to remove these stresses, allowing the victim the opportunity to recover. Contact a skilled, qualified, and experienced car accident attorney in St. Louis, MO for a free consultation regarding your auto accident.
Troy Walton is a Personal Injury Lawyer who practices in Edwardsville, IL and St. Louis, MO. He graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law, and has been practicing law for several years now. Troy Walton believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.
The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.