Legal Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
Car Accidents Overview
When you get into a car accident, the physical and emotional trauma you sustain from the accident can cause you to make certain decisions that can have a lasting impact on any insurance claim or personal injury claim you decide to file because of the accident. In fact, one bad decision while trying to resolve the fallout from the accident can cause an otherwise strong and substantial claim to fail. For this reason, it is important that you avoid making any of the following common legal mistakes after you are involved in a car accident.
Failing to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
After a car accident, you may think that you have not suffered any physical injuries because they’re not immediately apparent after the crash. Despite the fact that you may think you are not injured, it’s important to know that some injuries may take days or weeks to manifest to a regular person, but may be diagnosable by a doctor immediately. Failing to seek medical treatment for your possible injuries after a car accident can, consequently, be bad for your own overall physical health. However, it can have some negative legal implications, as well. For instance, failing to seek immediate medical attention after a car accident or waiting until symptoms of physical injuries manifest may cast doubt on whether you sustained the injuries in the car accident. Accordingly, if your injuries manifest later on and there is no record that you sought medical attention for your them until the symptoms presented themselves, insurance carriers and the opposing party’s lawyer can try to use this gap in treatment to prove that your injuries were caused by some other incident and not by the car accident. Consequently, this evidence may be used to disprove causation and could lead to you losing your insurance claim or lawsuit.
Making Statements that Admit Fault
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, your first instinct upon getting out of the car to speak with the other driver is to say “I’m sorry” or that you think you caused the accident. You may even be primed to makes these admissions even if you did not, in fact, cause the accident. If you do utter these words to the other driver, an eyewitness, the responding police officer, or an insurance adjuster, however, these statements may be used against you to prove that you, and not the other driver was responsible for the accident. For this reason, it is important that, no matter how shocked you are by the accident, you do not make any statements that imply you are responsible for what happened.
Failing to Gather Information or Document Anything
Another common legal pitfall that car accident victims fall into is failing to get the information needed to prove their insurance or personal injury claim. Accordingly, when you are involved in a car accident, you should strive to obtain the following information at the scene from the other driver involved:
- Telephone number and address
- Driver’s license number
- His or her car insurance details
- License plate number
- Make and model of his or her car
Obtaining this information will make it easier to initiate the insurance claim process or, if you must bring a lawsuit against the other driver, will make it easier to locate and serve the other driver with your personal injury complaint.
In addition to this information, however, you should also get:
- Names and contact information of any eyewitness
- Name and contact information of the responding police officer
- A copy of the police officer’s incident report
- Photographs of the scene of the accident, including:
- Any damage to your car
- Any damage to the other car involved
- Any traffic signs in the area
- Any skid marks on the street created by either car
Gathering all of this information will help you have enough evidence to prove that the other driver was at-fault for the accident. If you do not gather enough of the above mentioned information, you will have a hard time proving your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Similarly, failing to document things like medical expenses, lost wages, or vehicle repair bills will prevent you from sufficiently proving the amount of damages you are owed because of the accident. If you fail to prove that you have suffered any damages, then your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit may fail even if you can prove that the other driver caused the accident and your resulting injuries.
Failing to Retain an Attorney
In many car accident cases, those involved may feel as though retaining a personal injury attorney is not necessary because they can handle their claims themselves. However, retaining an attorney in this situation can be very beneficial in getting you the most monetary compensation you can from your claim because a skilled attorney will help you to avoid committing the above legal mistakes and will also advocate zealously for you when litigating your insurance claim or personal injury claim.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Marrone Law Firm, LLC represent clients injured because of car accidents in Philadelphia, Center City, University City and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (215) 732-6700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 South Broad Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102, as well as an office in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.