Though car accidents are a common occurrence, many people have little experience with what to do and how to handle themselves after a crash. It can be a chaotic time. The pain of the injury, the stress of the accident itself, and the uncertainty of the future can be overwhelming. Many well-intentioned victims make innocent mistakes that can have a significant impact on their ability to obtain medical care and recover compensation. While much has been discussed about what accident victims should do after a crash to protect their health and their rights, it’s just as important to know what NOT to do.
Five Mistakes You Need to Avoid After a Car Accident
While it is possible to overcome these obstacles, avoiding some common pitfalls can make an important difference in your case. As you and your family navigate the medical and legal systems after an accident, do NOT do the following:
- Admit fault. While it’s a common reaction, don’t apologize for the accident—no matter what role you played. It is not your job to assign responsibility for the crash and doing so can potentially eliminate or reduce any compensation you may be awarded.
- Fail to call police. Often, those involved in a car crash will simply exchange information and leave the scene. It can be very difficult, however, to pursue a legal injury claim without an official police report detailing the accident and injury. Police can provide key evidence to support your claims, and failing to report the accident may make it seem as if the victim did not consider the crash serious enough to warrant police involvement.
- Fail to seek medical care. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, it’s important to seek care after a crash. Injuries may not always be easily apparent, especially with the rush of adrenaline experienced during an accident. Only a medical professional can provide a clear picture of your injuries, as well as an idea of what you might expect of your future health.
- Give a recorded statement to or sign anything for an insurance adjuster. No matter what they may tell you, insurance company representatives are out to further the best interests of the corporation. They may seem cordial in person or on the phone, but they are always looking for a way to undermine your injury claim against their client. If pressured to speak with an insurance company, only share the most basic details of the case. Consult an attorney who can help you answer their questions in the most effective, protected manner.
- Agree to a quick settlement. While it may be tempting to just accept an initial settlement offer and move forward with your life, it may not be the best course of action. Some injuries can have long-term consequences, and it’s important that any settlement address the full scope of injuries. Insurance companies push accident victims to settle quickly so they can protect their own interests. It is not typically possible to go back once a case has been settled
An Experienced Alaska Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights
Even if you are worried you have committed one of these mistakes, accident victims have rights that can be protected. An experienced attorney can help victims and their families understand those rights. After helping others just like you, a lawyer can provide the information and guidance that will help you make as complete a recovery as possible.
Most accident victims simply want to get back to the way things were before the injury. Attorney Ben Crittenden understands and he’s here to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to do just that. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an Alaska car crash, call Ben’s Anchorage office today or take a moment to request a free copy of his book, A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska, to learn more about the dos and don’ts that will protect your future.