Auto accidents are incredibly disruptive, and that disruption begins right after the impact. Many people are not sure what to do in the aftermath of an accident, so they fall back on what they learned years ago or overheard someone else say. In most cases, their actions can seriously impact a future claim and lawsuit for damages and make it much harder for a car wreck attorney to obtain fair compensation for their injuries.
If nothing else, if you can adhere to these two simple rules, you greatly enhance the likelihood of success in court. In addition, please consult an auto accident lawyer Atlanta GA trusts for a second opinion.
Don’t Give a Statement to the Insurance Company
Many people believe that it is perfectly okay to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. After all, these people reason, they have nothing to hide and it is better to give such a statement while the incident is fresh in their minds.
The insurance company carefully records these conversations, but not for “quality purposes” or any other reason that the telephone operator offers. Instead, insurance company lawyers review these tapes later, looking for evidence to use against the victim in court. And insurance company phone operators are very good at extracting such information.
- Questions like “where were you coming from” or “what is the speed limit in that area” may seem innocuous, but they are designed to elicit information that could bolster a future comparative negligence defense. In other words, the insurance company tries to shift accident blame to the victim, and it will do anything it can to reinforce this defense.
- If the insurance company asks for medical records, it is not to connect you with a good doctor. Instead, the insurance company wants to find evidence of prior illness or injury that it can use to reduce its settlement offer/show to the jury.
Drivers have no legal obligation to talk to an insurance adjuster promptly after the crash. Call a lawyer instead. Your statement is protected and confidential, and nothing you say will be twisted and used against you later.
Do See the Doctor Immediately
Many people erroneously believe that if they put off going to the doctor for a few days, the insurance company will view this event favorably, because it looks like the victim is not trying to unnecessarily inflate the value of the claim.
But in fact, the opposite is true. If the victim does not see a doctor straightaway, the insurance company almost always argues that the victim’s injuries must not have been very severe. This issue is especially critical in no-fault insurance states that require the victim to establish a serious injury.
Knowing what to do after a car crash makes your life easier.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Butler Tobin for their insight on this subject.