After a car or truck accident, there are common mistakes that people make that harm their chances of securing compensation in a personal injury claim. The most important mistakes to avoid are:
- Not calling the police;
- Admitting fault;
- Failing to gather evidence;
- Not seeking medical attention;
- Providing a recorded statement to the insurance company;
- Accepting a quick settlement;
- Not keeping records;
- Not notifying your insurance company;
- Handling the claim on your own; and
- Waiting too long to file a claim.
In this article, We will break down each of these mistakes and how to avoid them. However, the best way to get advice based on your specific case is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
At Abraham Watkins, we believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality legal representation without an upfront cost, and that is why we offer a free consultation and work on a no-win, no-fee basis. That means we only get paid if your case is successful. And if it isn’t, then we will not receive anything. We assume all the risks that you can seek legal help regardless o your financial situation.
Our car accident lawyers have been helping car and truck accident victims for more than seven decades in Texas, making us one of the longest-serving law firms in the state. Thanks to a long history of success and a stellar reputation, we have what it takes to handle even the most complex situations. We will investigate your case and build up a robust claim so that you can focus on your recovery.
Arrange a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer today at 713-535-9319.
Failing to Gather Evidence
You should always prioritize your own safety after an auto accident. That means that if you’re seriously injured, then you should not move, and you should wait for paramedics to arrive. However, if you are able to, then you should gather evidence from the scene. Any evidence that you do collect, your attorney may be able to use later to help build your case. Some potential evidence includes:
- A photograph of the entire scene before vehicles are moved, if possible;
- Photographs of vehicle damage, injuries, skid marks, road debris, and anything else that could be relevant;
- Name, contact information, vehicle registration, and insurance information from the other driver;
- Name and contact information of any potential witnesses; and
- The name, police officer number, and police report number from the responding officer.
Not Seeking Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine initially after a car accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. While some car accident injuries may be immediately obvious, such as broken bones, others can be easily masked by adrenaline and endorphins that are released by the trauma of a car accident. For example, whiplash, concussion or internal injuries may not be obvious straight away, but it’s important that you get the proper medical care. In addition, your medical report will be integral to your claim.
Providing a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
All insurance companies are driven by profit, which means paying car accident victims as little as possible. You should avoid giving a recorded statement to any insurance company without first consulting an attorney. You should also not admit fault in any way or minimize your injuries.
After a car accident you may be required to call your own insurance company to let them know that there has been an accident. However, simply stick to the facts of the case where and when the accident occurred and who was involved. Once you have representation from an attorney, they will take over all correspondence with insurance companies to protect your rights to compensation.
Accepting a Quick Settlement
One common tactic that insurance companies use to pay victims less than they are owed is to offer a quick low settlement to close the claim. Once you accept a settlement, you forfeit your right to claim anything more. Therefore, before accepting any offer, you should consult with an attorney who can advise you on whether it is a just and fair offer. The fact that you’ve been offered a settlement quickly suggests that you have a strong claim to compensation.
Not Keeping Records
In order to increase your chances of securing sufficient compensation that covers all of your damages, you should keep thorough records. You should document all of your expenses, medical bills, lost wages, property repair or replacement, and any other costs related to the accident. Including prescription costs, transport to and from appointments and more.
Your attorney will also help you establish what your pain and suffering damages are worth. These are your non-economic expenses, such as your emotional anguish and loss of enjoyment in life. In order to help your attorney, you can keep a thorough record of how your injuries have affected your life. For example, if you would usually go running regularly and are no longer able to, then you should document this. You should document your level of emotional and physical pain.
Not Notifying Your Insurance Company
Inform your insurance company about the accident in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in a denial of coverage. However, remember to stick to the facts of your case, i.e. when and where it occurred and who was involved. Then you can simply tell them that your attorney will be in touch.
Handling the Claim on Your Own
Handling a car accident claim or a truck accident claim without the help of an experienced attorney is not recommended. The claims process can be very complex and stressful and victims should be able to focus on their recovery. In addition, when people do not have legal representation, it is common for them to end up with much less than what they deserve. This is because of the skills, experience and resources that an attorney offers.
An attorney will ensure that you have a robust case for compensation and will understand how to provide evidence for all of your damages, both economic and non-economic and past and future. While some damages are easy to quantify, such as your past medical bills, others are more complex. If your injuries are ongoing, then your attorney may need to draw upon expert testimony to establish what your future medical expenses could be. Pain and suffering damages are also highly contentious, but when a skilled attorney is supporting your case, they often make up the largest portion of your settlement.
Insurance companies can be challenging to deal with, but an attorney will have experience dealing with insurance companies on a daily basis. It is also important to have an attorney who has trial experience. Although most personal injury crimes do not go to court, often the threat of a court case is sufficient for insurance companies to offer a higher settlement rather than risk losing more in the courtroom. Court cases are time-consuming and costly. However, if negotiations break down and a fair settlement can not be reached, then a court case could be necessary, in which case your car accident attorney will litigate on your behalf.
Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
Every state has a statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to seek compensation. In Texas, you have just two years after a car accident to file a claim. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you meet all deadlines.
Commercial Truck Accident Cases
Commercial truck accidents in particular, can lead to large payouts due to the significant damages and injuries that often result from these incidents. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, such as semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, can cause catastrophic injuries and property damage when they collide with smaller vehicles. Additionally, commercial trucking companies and their insurers typically have substantial resources at their disposal, which can make it challenging for accident victims to win their cases.
There are several mistakes that individuals make, which can jeopardize their chances of successfully claiming compensation after a commercial truck accident. One common mistake is failing to report the accident to the police. An official police report is a crucial piece of evidence that can be used to support a claim. Without it, proving liability and the extent of the damages may become difficult.
Another mistake people make is not seeking medical attention promptly after the accident. In some cases, individuals may not feel injured or may underestimate the severity of their injuries. However, delaying medical treatment can make it challenging to establish a causal link between the accident and the injuries sustained, which can ultimately weaken the claim.
Admitting fault or making statements that could be construed as accepting responsibility for the accident is another mistake that can harm a person’s chances of recovering compensation. It is important to avoid making any statements that could be used against you in a legal proceeding, as these could be used by the opposing party to argue that you were responsible for the accident.
Furthermore, accident victims may not gather sufficient evidence at the scene of the crash. Taking photos of the accident site, the vehicles involved, and any injuries sustained can be vital for building a strong case. Additionally, collecting contact information of witnesses can help provide important testimony to support your claim.
Lastly, trying to handle the claim without the assistance of an experienced attorney can also negatively impact the outcome. Commercial truck accident cases can be complex, involving multiple parties and intricate legal and regulatory issues. An experienced attorney can help navigate these complexities and advocate for the maximum compensation possible.
Contact Abraham Watkins For a Free Consultation Today
The best way to protect your right to compensation is to speak is to seek the help of an attorney with experience navigating car accident claims in Texas. An attorney will ensure that all deadlines are met, and paperwork is filed. They will also take over all negotiations with insurance companies and take the case to court on your behalf if necessary.
Auto accidents are highly complex and emotional cases, but with the right support, you can focus on your health, which could be essential to your long-term recovery. At Abraham Watkins, we’ve been helping car and truck accident victims in Texas for more than 70 years and boast a wealth of experience and a long list of happy clients.
We offer a free consultation and work on a no-win no fee basis, so do not hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney. Call now at 713-535-9319.