Your actions after a car accident can make a significant difference in your health and your ability to receive a settlement if another party was liable for the crash. A New York and New Jersey car accident lawyer at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. will negotiate with the insurance company so you may receive the compensation you deserve.
1. Not Calling the Police
Calling the police after a car accident is imperative. It is the law if anyone was injured or if there is more than $500 in property damage. In an accident in which no one appears hurt and there is minor vehicle damage, the at-fault driver may try to persuade you not to report the collision to the police. Do not do this. Even though it may appear no one was injured, not all injuries are apparent right away. Failure to report the accident means you cannot seek compensation should you develop symptoms or if the impact affected your car more than you thought.
2. Failing to Seek Medical Attention
Always seek prompt medical attention after a car accident. While seriously injured people should go via ambulance to the nearest emergency room, those who do not think they were hurt should still go to an urgent care center. As noted, not all injuries appear immediately. The adrenaline rush after a traumatic experience can mask severe pain. Not having a medical examination poses a risk to your health and can exacerbate an injury. Also, it is almost impossible to pursue a claim if the victim did not receive medical attention within a reasonable time.
3. Admitting Guilt
When questioned by the police, do not admit guilt, even if you think you were at fault. You must give the police an honest version of events, but that does not equate to saying you were responsible. An investigation may reveal another potential cause of the crash, such as the mechanical failure of the other driver’s vehicle.
4. Not Reporting the Accident to Your Insurer
Report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible. That is a requirement of your insurance contract. However, do not agree to a settlement or give a recorded statement until you have spoken to a car accident lawyer.
5. Never Leave the Scene
Never leave the scene of an accident. It is against the law and can result in fines and jail time. The only exceptions involve driving yourself or another injured person to the hospital for treatment.
6. Failure to Collect Evidence
Unless you are badly injured, try to collect as much evidence as possible at the scene. Take photos and videos of the crash site, the vehicles involved, your injuries, and the road conditions. Get the name and address, contact information, and insurance and driver’s license information from the other driver. If there are eyewitnesses, get their names, addresses, and contact information, too. Write down what you remember of the accident immediately, while it is fresh in your mind.
7. Posting on Social Media
Posting details of life events on social media is second nature for many people. However, do not post anything regarding your accident, even to assure people you are fine. Insurance company employees scour social media searching for evidence that plaintiffs are not injured as badly as they allege. The ban on social media includes posting any photos of yourself participating in activities that an injured person should not do. That includes posts in which you are carrying young children or large packages.
8. Waiting Too Long
After an accident, you have a limited amount of time in which to pursue a personal injury lawsuit if you were seriously injured. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years. However, it is vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Waiting too long can mean critical evidence vanishes, and proving your claim becomes much more challenging.
9. Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Keep in mind that your insurance company is looking to settle a claim for as little as possible, as quickly as possible. The insurer’s first settlement offer is almost certainly too low. Once you accept it, there is no going back. If it turns out your injuries are more serious than you thought, you must pay for additional medical expenses and lost wages out of pocket.
10. Don’t Negotiate with the Insurance Company without a Lawyer
When the insurance company sees you have a lawyer fighting for your rights, they know they must make a reasonable settlement offer.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one were seriously injured due to the negligence of another party, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P. C. Schedule a free consultation by calling or texting 24/7 or submitting our online form.