Mistakes to Avoid after a Car Accident in Harrison County
Car accidents are often traumatic experiences for everyone involved. Even when someone is lucky enough to escape with only minor injuries, the days following a collision can be challenging. Victims may be in pain, out of work, and overwhelmed with calls from insurance agents looking to settle the case.
Understanding few common mistakes to avoid can help Harrison County car accident victims preserve their case and their right to compensation. To learn more, contact an attorney today.
Admitting Fault at the Scene
A driver involved in a car accident in Harrison County should not admit fault at the scene It is common for someone to apologize to the other driver, but victims often do not know all of the facts about what caused a crash. The other driver may have been speeding, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or disobeying traffic laws. Any of these factors may have made the other driver legally responsible for the wreck.
If one driver apologizes at the scene of an accident as a gesture of politeness or compassion, they have needlessly admitted fault for an incident that may well have been caused by the other driver. It is best to avoid saying anything that could later jeopardize a case.
Refusing Medical Treatment
Another big mistake to avoid after a car accident is to refuse medical treatment at the scene. Immediately after a car accident, people often have so much adrenaline rushing through them that they do not feel pain until a day or two later. In some cases, people assume that because they do not have visible injuries, they do not need treatment. They may hope the injuries will heal on their own.
It is best to let a medical professional make this determination. If pain is masked by adrenaline or anxiety and someone refuses treatment, the insurance company may later accuse them of exaggerating their injuries. Adjusters or opposing attorneys may argue that a reasonable person would want medical care if they were truly injured, especially if the accident was someone else’s fault.
Failing to Follow the Doctor’s Orders
It is critically important that anyone involved in a car accident in Harrison County follow their doctors’ orders. Common follow-up care can include physical therapy, massage therapy, or chiropractic care, perhaps multiple times per week for several months on end. If someone skips appointments, insurance adjusters or opposing attorneys may assume they were not injured or are no longer in pain. They may argue that if someone was truly hurt, they would make an effort to obtain proper treatment in order to heal.
The reality is people often fail to attend every medical appointment due to their work schedule or familial obligations. Attending doctors’ appointments is time consuming, but unfortunately, failing to do so will leave gaps in their treatment that could hurt their case. Some people may not participate in their prescribed treatment because they do not have health insurance and cannot it. This is a valid concern to discuss with an experienced attorney, as some medical providers in Harrison County will not provide treatment if someone is uninsured. Fortunately, a successful case could allow a victim to recoup all of their medical expenses.
Giving Recorded Statements to the Insurance Company
It is dangerous to provide a recorded statement regarding a Harrison County car accident to the other driver’s insurance company before consulting with an attorney. Insurance adjusters who take recorded statements are often highly trained in creating scenarios where people inadvertently make admissions of facts against their own interest. Adjusters may try to get the driver to admit things in the recorded statement that can be used against them or attribute fault to them, such as asking specific questions about their driver that they may not know the answer to and having their insured driver provide the missing information in such a way that it places their insured driver in a more favorable light.
A recorded statement is typically conducted over the phone within the first few days after the accident in the hope that the driver has not yet had the opportunity to speak with an attorney. Insurance adjusters often present themselves to the other driver as someone there to help them, with the goal of lulling the other driver into a false sense of security when, in fact, insurance adjusters work only for the benefit of their insured drivers.
Cashing a Settlement Check
After an auto collision in Harrison County, insurance companies often try to settle a case as quickly and cheaply as they possibly can. When the insurance company sends a settlement check, they require the driver to sign a release prohibiting them from pursuing legal action against the company or their insured driver. Their goal is to resolve the case early to avoid paying for any ongoing medical care and treatment. Drivers should never cash a check presented to them by an insurance company unless and until they have consulted with an experienced attorney.
Failing to Contact an Attorney
Most drivers do not know all of their rights after a car accident. Experienced attorneys can provide valuable advice and help drivers pursue their own best interests in accordance with all applicable laws. Retaining legal counsel helps victims make informed decisions protect their eligibility for compensation.
Specifically, lawyers could serve as the point of contact through which the insurance company communicates. By retaining an attorney, the driver has a knowledgeable advocate who could advise them against actions that would not be in their best interests, giving them greater peace of mind and the ability to focus on recovering from their injuries.
Injury victims who are represented by an attorney often collect more money than those without. Lawyers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that enables them to aggressively and persuasively fight for the interests of the victim. Unrepresented victims may be at a disadvantage against experienced insurance adjusters.
Discuss Your Case with a Harrison County Lawyer
By avoiding a few common mistakes, Harrison County car accident victims can protect their rights and help maximize their chance of recovering fair compensation. To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney, call now.