So you’re driving along, minding your own business when BOOM! Out of nowhere, someone hits your car! The following moments are likely going to be very chaotic. First things first, ensure EVERYONE IS OKAY! After that…make sure you DON’T do these things!
1. Don’t underestimate your injuries! Many people who have been in car accidents underestimate how injured they might be, and most don’t go to the doctor! If first responders come to the scene of your accident, make sure to let them know of any complaints. Further, NEVER skip going to the doctor if EMS isn’t called; the most important part of this process is making sure you are okay! The pain of your car crash might not be immediate.
2. Don’t wait too long to act. Louisiana law requires a plaintiff to bring a personal injury claim within 1 year of the date that the car crash occurred. Therefore, if you wait too long to act on your claim, if you attempt to sue, the at-fault driver will not be held liable!
3. Do not give too much information to the insurance company. It is important to understand that insurance adjusters are not on your side. They work for the insurance company, which is a business. The job of its employees is to save the insurance company money. So they try to find ways to pay you less money. Insurance adjusters know that accident victims are under a lot of stress, often unfamiliar with the process of filing a claim, and likely to trust the adjuster’s tactics. You may be tempted to accept a much smaller settlement than you deserve. When speaking with any insurance company representative, do not give more information than needed to open a claim (for example, details of your injuries or how the accident happened), do not admit fault, and do not provide a recorded statement.
4. Don’t fail to call the police. Don’t allow the at-fault driver to persuade you out of calling law enforcement. Contacting law enforcement is paramount to make sure that there is an independent record (at least somewhat) as to what happened at the scene of the crash, and it will also help ensure that the other driver is not lying about their personal details.
5. Don’t admit any sort of personal fault. In the whirlwind that ensues after the crash, you are likely going to talk to a LOT of people. It is best to give as little information as possible except in relation to your medical care, because the insurance company will attempt to get those statements, in an attempt to use them against your case, devaluing your case. The more you talk, the more an accidental statement that can later be used against you will occur.
6. Don’t neglect to gather evidence. Make sure you take pictures, videos, and audio of the scene. If witnesses stopped to help you after the crash, ask them for their personal information so they can make a statement about the crash.
7. Don’t agree to a quick settlement. It is likely that once you are in contact with the opposing insurance company, they will offer you a small sum of money to make you go away. RESIST this temptation, they might offer you $2,000 when your case is worth $200,000. Once your release them from liability, your case is over. Consult a personal injury attorney (most offer free consultations).
8. Don’t sign anything from the insurance company. Don’t sign ANYTHING from the opposing insurance company without having a personal injury attorney review it. Every paper you sign from the insurance company is binding and carefully crafted to ensure that they get their way. It is highly likely that you will not understand the terms and conditions of the contract.
9. Don’t talk about your claim on social media. We live in an era where many peoples’ outlets for their feelings, frustrations, and admissions are posted on social media. But remember, just like your teachers and parents taught you, it is NOT as private as you believe. Insurance adjusters and Defense Attorneys will scour your social media to find any evidence of things that will help devalue your case.
10. Don’t handle a car accident claim on your own. Obviously, you do not have to hire an attorney to help you with your personal injury claim, but it is often in your best interest to do so. Many attorneys are able to get a MUCH better result for their clients compared to if the individual attempted to do so themselves. Don’t attempt to fight this battle alone!
If you have any questions or are wondering if YOU have a claim, always feel free to contact US! (225)-916-1571 Cmelancon@Tmailbr.com 318 St. Charles Street, Baton Rouge, LA, 70802