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Common Mistakes

Unfortunately, there are some common mistakes people make after they are in an auto accident.  Over the next few days, I’ll post the six most common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them if you are ever involved in an auto accident.

Mistake #1 – Waiting to Call an Attorney

Too often people wait to contact an attorney to get help regarding their case. Waiting often results in the loss or destruction of important evidence which can significantly hurt your chances for a fair recovery for your injuries. For example, pavement markings can be used to show that the other vehicle was in the wrong lane. However pavement markings disappear quickly.

Waiting only hurts your case. Don’t be a victim twice. If you have been in an accident call immediately. And if a loved one has been injured and is unable to call, don’t hesitate to call on their behalf. Initial consultations are free so it will not cost you anything to talk to us.

Mistake #2 – Talking to the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company

I frequently see motor vehicle accident victims who have talked to the at-fault person’s insurance company without the benefit of representation. Often times auto accident victims inadvertently say something that is not helpful to their personal injury claim or may even prove to be harmful to their case. Don’t make this mistake. No matter what the insurance company representative might tell you, the real purpose for talking to you is to get information that can be used against you. Furthermore, insurance companies usually record these conversations. Thus we recommend that you always consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before speaking with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Call us today for your free initial consultation.

Mistake #3 – Failing to Get Prompt Medical Attention / Treatment

As an attorney who has represented accident victims for over 25 years, I have seen many situations where the injured victim of an automobile collision will refuse to go to the hospital even though the EMTs recommend that they go. Sometimes people will make their situation worse by waiting for weeks or even months to follow up with a physician for problems or injuries associated with the accident. While no one wants to look like a whiner, this sort of inaction can adversely affect your attorneys ability to convince the insurance company or jury that your injuries are serious. More importantly, delays in treatment can make it difficult to prove that your injuries are the result of the collision. In the worst case scenario, an intervening accident could re-injure the same body part making the case even more complicated and confusing for the jury….not to mention the doctor. If you have been hurt in an accident, you should get immediate medical attention. And be sure to follow your doctor’s advice.

Mistake #4 – Not Taking Photos of Your Vehicle and Injuries

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words certainly holds true in personal injury litigation. If you are in an automobile accident or other motor vehicle accident you want to be sure to get photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved in the collision and of the scene of the collision. You should also get photographs of any injuries that you suffered, including bruises, etc. Photographs can be extremely helpful in conveying the severity of a collision or of your injuries to the insurance company or jurors. Photographs can also help to document important information regarding how the accident occurred. Remember, most cell phones have cameras which can be used to take photographs. And, if you are unable to take the photographs yourself, ask a relative or friend to take photographs for you. Because the proper documentation of evidence (e.g. photographs of injuries) and the preservation of evidence (e.g. a defective air bag) is extremely important to any case, we strongly recommend that you immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney so that they can make sure that any important evidence is preserved and/or properly documented.

Mistake #5 – Failing to Get the Name(s) and Address(es) of Witnesses

If at all possible, you want to get the names and addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to an auto accident. Unfortunately, witnesses will sometimes leave accident scenes before the police arrive. Sometimes the police may not realize that an individual at the scene is a witness and will fail to get the relevant information from that person A witness can often be a key to establishing how an auto accident occurred and who’s fault the accident was. Always check the area for witnesses and be sure to get their information.

Mistake #6 – Signing or Completing Documents

In most accident cases the insurance company representing the at-fault party will immediately ask you to provide them with a description of how the incident occurred, what injuries you have suffered, and for authorizations to obtain all your medical records. This includes records unrelated to the injuries you suffered in the relevant incident. These authorizations can be used to obtain medical records of prior injuries or illnesses having no real relevance to the injuries suffered in the incident. For example, records relative to prior mental health issues or visits to a marriage counselor. Forms asking about how the collision occurred, what injuries you have suffered, and for other similar information are designed to get information from you that might be helpful to the other side. Often times accident victims unintentionally provide information that is incomplete or harmful to their case. We strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before signing or completing any documents presented to you relative to your claim for your injuries. Remember initial consults at our law office are free.