Being in a car accident can be an overwhelming, shocking, unsettling experience. It’s also true that car accidents are never something that we expect. They occur suddenly, and when they do, everything can feel as if it’s happening all at once. In that state of feeling overwhelmed and shocked, it can be difficult to know what to do. Understandably, it can be easy to overlook important steps that might be helpful to you later:
- Don’t delay seeking medical attention: Following any car accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is especially true if you’ve been hurt, but is even applicable if you don’t feel that you have been. Often, if you have suffered an internal injury, it may take some time before symptoms actually appear. Seeking medical attention early can help you to detect any injuries that you might not be aware of and to get the treatment that you need. Additionally, it is important to remember that, if you wait too long after an injury to seek medical treatment, an insurance company might use that against you. They might try to argue that your injuries could not have been very significant. Certainly, you want to avoid this. Seeking medical treatment is important for you and for any claim you might file. Additionally, medical records can often serve as official documentation of an accident – particularly if the accident was unreported or unwitnessed, this can be very important.
- Don’t fail to report the accident: Often, those who have been involved in an accident might think, particularly if they haven’t noticed any immediate pain or signs or an injury, that they don’t necessarily need to report it. This is certainly a mistake. Reporting an accident makes sure that you have a legal record of what occurred at the time that it occurred. Contemporaneous, recorded accounts of an accident are often considered far more reliable if necessary to support a claim than trying to look back days or months after the fact and reconstruct what happened. Additionally, calling the police to the scene and recording the accident helps to ensure that valuable evidence, including witness statements, photographs, and other information, is collected before it disappears.
- Don’t admit fault: After an accident, it can be tempting to tell the other driver that you’re “sorry,” even if you ultimately don’t feel that you were at fault. That’s simply human nature. The simple truth of the matter is that any statements you might make at the scene of the accident might eventually be introduced as evidence against you. Don’t hesitate to make efforts to ensure that yourself, the passengers in your vehicle, and the occupants of the other vehicle are okay – but avoid making any statements of fault. You will be glad that you did in the long run.
- Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company without consulting an attorney first: This is a mistake often made by people who feel they are just being “helpful” and responsive in providing information when contacted by the insurance company. While this is understandable, it is important to remember that any statements you make to an insurance adjuster might be recorded and might later be used against you. It is also important to remember that insurance companies are usually seeking to settle claims for the minimum amount possible. As a result, you are doing yourself no favors by providing information to the other side prior to talking to an attorney. Above all, do not sign anything provided to you by the insurance company, cash a check, or accept any sort of payment from the insurance company prior to consulting with counsel and understanding how it might affect your rights.
- Don’t post on social media: In today’s world of highly advanced technology, many of us are very familiar with social media and use it regularly. We are used to keeping up with family and friends and sharing information about our lives regularly. And in many ways, social media provides many benefits to those who use it. When it comes to car accidents, however, posting about the accident itself on social media is ill-advised. Ultimately, insurance companies and attorneys on the opposing side could end up with copies of whatever it is you post, and they may use it against you. While it may be tempting to vent about the accident and the issues it has caused for you, try to avoid doing so in order to be certain that you don’t damage any claim you may have.
- Don’t wait too long to consider filing a claim: In all jurisdictions, in all states, all over the country, accident claims must be filed within a certain time limit. This time limit is often referred to as the “statute of limitations.” While the statute of limitations that applies to car accident claims might differ depending on where you live, in all cases, it is imperative that you act quickly to protect your rights – before you lose the right to do so. Even if you aren’t certain that you might ultimately want to file a claim, it is nevertheless wise to consult with an attorney simply to discuss your circumstances and the various options available to you.
At 303 Legal, we understand that being the victim of a car accident can be an overwhelming experience. We’re here to help make it less so. Our knowledgeable and experienced legal team understands the law pertaining to car accidents, and we have years of experience putting that knowledge to practice to achieve results on behalf of clients across the Cedar Rapids area and beyond. We would love to have the opportunity to put our knowledge and experience to work for you as well. If you have been the victim of a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed – but know that you aren’t alone. Contact us today for your free consultation. We look forward to helping you soon.