After any type of motor vehicle accident, it can be difficult to remain calm and remember what steps you should be taking – especially if you have been injured. However, knowing what to do and say is critical to protecting your rights and increasing your chances of filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Because you actions can have an impact on your ability to recover the financial compensation you deserve, our legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP wants you to have the facts.
Having represented many injured clients throughout Southern California following preventable car accidents, we have seen many of the common mistakes victims make after a wreck – including mistakes that have the potential to create complications in their personal injury cases. To ensure you get off to the right start, we have put together a list of some common mistakes you should avoid, and how you can take the correct steps toward protecting your rights:
- Not Getting a Police Report – After an accident, calling 911 is important to not only getting emergency medical services to attend to any serious injuries, but also in having a law enforcement officer arrive at the scene. When police show up, they can begin recording information about what happened in the crash, speak with all involved drivers and witnesses, and compile that information in a formal police report. This police report can act as an important piece of evidence in any personal injury claim you choose to file later on.
- Forgetting to Gather Information – While it is not always possible for victims to gather information after a crash, it can be helpful. Taking pictures of the scene, license plates, vehicle damage and positioning, and nearby signs or signals is a wise idea. You should also collect driver’s license information, contact info, and insurance coverage details from all involved parties. Gathering as much information as you are able to can help your attorney piece together what happened during your crash, and ensure any claim is pursued against the appropriate party who was at fault.
- Discussing Fault or Apologizing – Discussions over who was responsible for an accident are best left to your attorney. After a crash, you want to focus on getting medical attention at the scene if you or others were injured. By discussing fault or even apologizing – even if you are not sure what really led to the crash – you risk your words being taken out of context by insurance companies that leverage them to suggest you were at fault.
- Waiting to Seek Medical Attention – Your health should always be your primary concern, which is why timely medical attention, diagnoses of your injuries, and appropriate treatment is crucial. Waiting to seek medical attention or follow-ups with your doctor if you were transported to the hospital or treated at the scene (even if you want to tough it out and see if the pain goes away), can also be taken out of context by insurance companies. Often, they’ll use this delay and gap in time to suggest you were not injured in a wreck, even if you have been in pain the whole time.
- Trusting the Other Driver’s Insurance Company – To put things simply, the other driver’s insurance company is not on your side. They are a corporation, and they care more about profits than people. This means you should be wary of any tactics they may use to pay you less than you deserve – such as lowball settlement offers early on in the process (before you even know your full scope of damages), and having you make recorded statements to use your own words against you (you don’t have to make a recorded statement). By working with a lawyer, you gain the support of an advocate who knows how to fight back against insurers, and can handle communications with them for you.
- Working Without an Attorney – Working with experienced legal representation, such as our legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, is one of the most efficient and effective ways to help you take the right steps toward a full and fair recovery of your damages. By handling all legal issues, communicating with insurance companies, and guiding you through the process, our attorneys work to eliminate many of the mistakes victims make when they attempt to go it alone, and to secure the maximum compensation possible.
As personal injury lawyers, our legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP is dedicated to helping injured victims and their families during difficult times. This means helping them understand their rights and how to take the right steps to protect those rights from the very beginning. If you or someone you love has been harmed in a preventable car accident, truck accident, or other motor vehicle collision, we encourage you to reach out to our firm as soon as possible for the support and guidance you need. Contact us to discuss your case and how we can help during a free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, and Southern California.