Most car accident victims are aware of what they need to do after an accident.
They know to call for help, get contact information, and contact their insurance company.
While there is an extensive list of steps to take immediately after an accident, there is an equally important list of steps not to do.
These items could be detrimental to a car accident case, especially if one is seriously injured and needs to seek compensation later on.
What Should A Car Accident Victim Never Do?
Phoenix personal injury attorneys can help a victim receive compensation for their accident. However, these errors could lessen the success of a claim or eliminate a victim’s right to compensation. Therefore, all accident victims must be aware of the appropriate steps to take (and more important, what not to do) following an accident.
1. Never Apologize At The Scene
It is human nature to apologize; even if the person is not at fault for the crash.While it is a gesture of good will and sincerity, apologizing at the scene could be used against an accident victim later on if they pursue a claim.
Apologies, according to FindLaw, could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Even if the accident is straightforward, a victim who apologizes could open the door for the defense to disprove their client’s negligence.
Therefore, regardless of how sorry a person may be (or feel), they should never apologize at the accident scene.
More so, a victim should never admit to anything; regardless if they feel apologetic.
For example, an accident victim should not state that they were not paying attention or they were talking to their passenger at the time of the crash. Any statements made at the scene can be used later in the claims process and could help the defense increase comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence, according to Wikipedia, is a legal defense that allows the defendant in a Phoenix personal injury claim to place part of the responsibility on the plaintiff. This tactic may reduce the plaintiff’s settlement amount or eliminate it altogether.
2. Do Not Neglect Medical Treatment
Even if the injuries are not apparent or seem mild, an accident victim should seek medical attention right away.
Most injuries will manifest a few days to a few weeks later (especially with whiplash), according to HealthLine. Delaying medical treatment can make the injuries worse, and also give the defense an opportunity to state that the injuries are not as severe as the plaintiff claims.
Therefore, anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision should seek medical treatment — whether it is at a primary care physician’s office the next day or the emergency room immediately following the incident.
3. Do Not Ignore Doctor’s Orders
If a physician prescribes a medical treatment or requests follow-up appointments, it is in a plaintiff’s best interest to follow all instructions. If they do not agree, they may seek a second opinion from another qualified physician. However, they cannot ignore the doctors’ instructions.
Doing so will again give the defense an opportunity to downplay the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries (regardless if they are legitimate).
4. Do Not Speak With The Other Driver’s Insurance Company
After an accident, the other party’s insurance claims adjuster will contact the accident victim for an official statement. They may even tell the driver that a statement is required to proceed with the claims process. These statements are not true.
According to FindLaw, an accident victim should not speak with a claims adjuster about the incident. Instead, they should inform them to contact their own insurer or speak with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer that they have retained.
5. Do Not Attempt To File A Phoenix Personal Injury Claim Without Legal Representation
The biggest mistake an accident victim can make is not contacting a personal injury attorney before starting the claims process. While victims are required to report their accident to their insurer, this does not mean that they should do so without legal representation.
An attorney can assess the accident case, injuries that the plaintiff has suffered, and determine adequate compensation. According to AllLaw, the more severe the injury, the more imperative it is to contact an attorney.
Also, a research study conducted in 1999 by the Insurance Research Council (and cited by AllLaw) found that claimants who were represented by a lawyer received three and a half times more in settlement value than those who represent themselves.
Speak With A Phoenix Personal Injury Representative Before Proceeding
Accident victims may benefit from the use of a personal injury attorney.
An attorney can negotiate an acceptable settlement offer and ensure their clients receive compensation for damages (i.e. lost wages, medical costs, future financial losses, etc.).
Most importantly, an attorney understands the process insurance companies go through to dwindle down a settlement, and they work to protect the rights of their clients.
Those injured in a serious motor vehicle accident in the Phoenix area can contact the accident attorneys at Tobler Law. Tobler Law’s team has been fighting for victims since 1972 and is here to help. Schedule a free consultation now at 480-898-9700 or request an appointment online by completing the online contact form.