Being in a car accident can be an extremely traumatizing experience—one that impacts your life forever. As a result of a car accident, you may be facing severe injuries, including permanently disabling or life-threatening injuries; high repair or replacement costs for your vehicle; medical expenses and ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs; lost wages and a loss of earning capacity due to your long-term disability; and physical pain, emotional anguish, and psychological injury.
At the law office of Claim Your Justice, we realize that life after a car accident may never look the same; we also understand that intelligently navigating the claims process could have a significant impact on the overall outcome of your case and your future, including how much money you are able to recover.
While there’s a whole list of things that you should do after being involved in a car accident, here are a few things that you should avoid doing, as they could impact your claim. Perhaps the most important thing that you can do, though, is to call a car accident lawyer in Schaumburg, IL as soon as possible after your crash. With that in mind, here’s a list of things to avoid doing after a car accident:
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid after a crash is that of admitting fault, whether it be to the other driver, witnesses, the police, the insurance agent, or any other party. Sometimes, a person may make comments that sound like an admission of fault (even if they are not intended to be), so it’s important to remain conscious of this. For example, saying “I’m sorry” could sound like you’re taking responsibility.
Because Illinois is an at-fault car insurance state, if you are to blame for a crash, you will be responsible for paying for it. If you admit fault, then, the amount of compensation that you’re able to recover from the other driver could be significantly reduced or eliminated. The best thing that you can do after a crash—if you are able—is to call 911. When you talk to your insurance agent, do not admit fault. It’s best to avoid talking to the agent in detail and giving a statement until after you’ve spoken to a Claim Your Justice attorney.
The other huge mistake that you can make is failing to report the accident. There are many reasons why you may be tempted to not report, including:
Here’s the thing: if you don’t report the accident within a timely manner and then later do need to file a claim to recover compensation, your claim will be denied because you didn’t give the insurance company time to investigate it, or the insurance company will doubt that your damages are related to the crash since you failed to report it. In fact, most insurance companies will not process a claim unless there is a police report. You must call the police and report the accident if you want to file a claim at any point and, in many instances, be acting in accordance with the law.
Like failing to report the accident to the police, not getting medical care if you are injured is another big mistake after a crash. Again, you may choose not to seek medical care for various reasons, such as not having insurance or not thinking your injuries are serious. It’s important to know, though, that some injuries do not set in immediately; for example, a head injury may take hours or days to fully show itself.
If you don’t get medical care and then later try to file a claim for an injury—such as a head injury—an insurance company may dispute that the claim is valid. Getting medical care is also important for ensuring that you get the care that you need, regardless of the insurance process, too.
A huge mistake that people make is posting about their accident on social media, as well as posting about their life post-accident. While you may be tempted to “let everyone know you’re okay” and show pictures of your “happy recovery,” these types of posts and photos can significantly devalue your claim.
Part of an insurance adjuster’s job is to investigate your claim of injury, pain, suffering, emotional distress, etc. after your crash. In order to do this, they just might add you on social media and start following your posts. If you post that you’re “feeling great!”, or post a picture of you walking with your child (even if the photo was taken before your accident), the insurance adjuster may use this as evidence to devalue your claim.
To be clear, why would an insurance company offer you a large settlement for pain and suffering when your socials show that you’re clearly fine and living your best life? If you have any questions about the use of social media post-accident, talk to a Claim Your Justice car accident lawyer in Schaumburg.
As touched on above, you need to report your car accident to the police and to your insurance company. An insurance company has a right to investigate your claim and has the right to receive enough notice to be able to do so properly. If you don’t report your accident, then the insurance company may have grounds to deny your claim.
One big mistake that many people make after a crash and after getting medical treatment is failing to follow the doctor’s orders exactly. Say your doctor says that you should be on bed rest for seven days, but on day six, you’re feeling good and want to get up and do something.
While this may seem perfectly reasonable, if the insurance agent finds out, they can use this as evidence to show that you failed to do your due diligence to mitigate injuries, and therefore any continued complications/pain you’re experiencing could be a result of your own negligence. The most important thing that you can do for your own wellbeing and for the claims process is to follow your doctor’s orders.
It is important to call your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible, but you shouldn’t dive into starting the claims process on your own; instead, you should call an experienced Claim Your Justice car accident lawyer in Schaumburg who can represent you in all conversations with the insurance company.
The reality is that the insurance agent assigned to your case will not be working for you and will not be trying to find a way to maximize your insurance amount; instead, they’ll be trying to find ways to lowball your claim. When you work with an attorney, you’re protecting your best interests and saving yourself from common, costly mistakes.
Investigating a crash is one of the most important parts of the claims process, and something that all sides involved will do as a way to gather evidence, determine liability, and calculate damages. Investigating a crash has many parts, including traveling to the accident scene, taking photographs, sending spoliation of evidence letters, reviewing vehicle electronic control module data, talking to eyewitnesses, reviewing cellphone logs (if distracted driving is a suspected cause), hiring accident reconstruction experts and other professionals, and more.
Attempting to handle all of this on your own can be a big mistake, not to mention overwhelming—you should always work with a skilled Claim Your Justice car accident lawyer in Schaumburg, IL.
Something that’s important to do if you are able is to take photos at the scene of the crash, as these photos may serve as important evidence during the claims process. If your injuries preclude you from doing this, it’s important to hire a lawyer immediately who can travel to the accident scene.
In addition to taking photos, you should write down as much as you can about the accident, such as what you were doing at the time it occurred, details about the other driver and vehicle involved, who might have seen the accident, and their contact information if possible, where you were traveling, the lighting and weather conditions at the time of the crash, etc.
Finally, one of the biggest and irreversible mistakes that you can make is accepting a settlement offer before having it reviewed by a Claim Your Justice car accident attorney in Schaumburg. A first settlement offer is often lowballed, with the hope that the claimant will just accept it. Once you accept it and sign a release of claim, there is no going back—you will not be able to fight for more money.
If you’ve been in a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced Claim Your Justice car accident attorney in Schaumburg for a free consultation. You can reach us by phone or contact us here at your convenience.
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