Nobody can predict when they will be involved in a car accident. You could be sitting at a red light and be rear-ended by a distracted driver. Or, you could be broadsided at a signalized intersection by a driver who failed to stop.
While we can't always control the likelihood of being involved in a crash, we can take the right course of action during the aftermath. The Washington car accident attorneys at Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC discuss the three biggest mistakes many people make after a crash and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not taking critical steps at the crash scene
The standard protocol after a crash is to move your car out of the line of traffic, check on other parties, call the police, or call 911 if anyone has sustained a serious injury. You are also required to exchange insurance information with the other driver and wait for the police to arrive.
During this time, you can gather some evidence that can help support your claim. This includes:
- Pictures of the crash scene
- Witness contact information
- Taking note of nearby surveillance cameras
- Noting the behavior of the at-fault driver
Mistake #2: Not getting medical attention
Not all crash-related injuries produce immediate symptoms. Pain and discomfort linked to your crash can set in several days later, sometimes weeks. We often see this with spinal injuries, whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and mild traumatic brain injuries.
There are two reasons why it's important that you seek prompt medical attention, even if you feel fine:
- Your doctor can identify your injuries early on and provide treatment before they worsen.
- The other driver's insurance company can't argue that you waited too long to see a doctor.
Mistake #3: Attempting to handle a claim without an attorney
If you've never pursued a car accident claim, you may not be fully aware of the rights available to you or the risks of attempting to handle a claim alone.
One of the biggest mistakes people make after a crash is speaking to the other driver's insurance company. Even if they come across as friendly, it's important that you never speak to them. Your phone conversation with them will be recorded and anything you say can be leveraged against your claim. You may actually unknowingly admit fault by saying the wrong thing.
If the insurance company offers any kind of settlement, it will likely only cover a small fraction of your actual damages.
That's why you need a strong legal advocate on your side who can:
- Determine how much compensation you're entitled to (medical expenses, wage loss, property damage, and non-economic damages).
- Deal with the insurance companies and negotiate for a fair settlement.
If you were hurt in a crash, contact Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC and set up your free consultation. We serve clients in Kent, Washington and the Seattle metro area.