Car crashes are complicated. When you’re seriously injured, the last thing you should worry about is falling into one of the insurance company’s notorious traps just because you didn’t know what to do after a crash. We see people make these mistakes all the time, and it can cost them the recovery they need to move forward.
To help you better understand some of these pitfalls and traps, we need to look at the five most common mistakes drivers make after a car crash.
No Police Report
If you’re in a car crash, you should have a police report to document what happened. A police report is vital because it is an unbiased description of the damages that also explains where the crash occurred and who was involved.
Crucially, a police report doesn’t just document the circumstances of a crash; that’s a secondary effect. The most important part of a police report is that it proves to the insurance company that a crash happened in the way you describe. An official report eliminates any doubt and makes it easier to start your case and pursue compensation.
Waiting to See a Doctor
No matter the circumstances of the crash, you should see a doctor immediately. If you see blood at the scene of the accident, call an ambulance. Otherwise, go directly to the doctor’s office as soon as you have a police report, even if you think it was a ‘minor’ crash.
When it comes to the car insurance system and your recovery, medical documentation is arguably more important than the police report. That’s because getting medical documentation immediately after the crash directly ties your injuries to the accident. If you wait, the insurance company could either argue that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim or may even claim your injuries are unrelated to the crash.
The sooner you are seen, the better your chances of identifying injuries and preventing them from getting worse. This is especially important because there’s a whole class of conditions (called latent injuries) that are almost imperceptible immediately after the crash but quickly worsen or even become life-threatening in the following days. Going to the doctor as soon as possible helps you identify and treat these injuries before they worsen.
Making a Recorded Statement
When you call to report the crash to your insurance company, they may try to pressure you into giving an official statement. You should refuse this until you have an attorney present. That’s because these official statements can make it much harder to earn the compensation you need to make a full recovery.
The insurance company is looking for any tiny thing that might justify offering less compensation. For example, they might ask how you’re feeling. If you say you’re feeling good, they could use that to suggest your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim and therefore justify a lower settlement.
There’s no winning when it comes to a recorded statement. The best thing you can do is politely refuse, end the call, and contact your attorney to discuss the next steps. Yet many don’t do this because they feel pressured or even threatened. Remember, no matter what the insurance company says, there is no requirement to make a recorded statement, and we advise that you do not give one in any case. If you feel pressured, discuss your options with your attorney.
Posting on Social Media
This is becoming an increasingly serious issue because most people don’t realize they’re doing anything wrong. When you post about your case on social media, even if it’s just letting family and friends know you were in a car crash, you open up your entire account to an investigation. That’s because the insurance company can subpoena your account, giving them access to your private messages, comment history, and posts.
This is similar to the recorded statement. If you don’t word your private messages perfectly, the insurance company will use any offhand comment to justify a lower settlement. For that reason, it’s better to follow your attorney’s advice and refrain from posting about the crash or your health until your case is resolved and you have recovered compensation.
Not Hiring an Attorney
As you can see, navigating a car crash is hard, especially when you are unfamiliar with how the process works. Remember, the insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. Their job of saving their company money is incompatible with your goal of earning a fair recovery.
Therefore, you need a skilled negotiator in your corner. When you hire a car accident attorney, they’ll handle all the negotiating, phone calls, and paperwork that will help you maximize your compensation, allowing you to focus on feeling better and getting back to health.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car crash, our Rochester car accident attorneys are here to help. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced attorney from Faraci Lange, LLP, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (888) 997-4110. We’re here to help.