In the aftermath of a car accident, your actions can influence the final outcome of your claim. Even with an experienced Macon car accident lawyer representing you, some mistakes can reduce the value of the settlement you may obtain.
Thus, it is important to avoid providing an insurance adjuster with ammo to put dents in your case. Here are some things you should not do after a car accident. For help with your claim, contact our law firm today.
Do Not Leave the Accident Scene
This is a very serious mistake because you have to remain at the crash scene until the police officers arrive to investigate and collect evidence. Georgia law stipulates that you must report any traffic accident resulting in:
- At least $500 in property damage
- Bodily injury
Leaving the scene of the accident before reporting the crash, exchanging information with the other driver, and giving a statement to the police is considered a hit-and-run. It is punishable by jail time between one and five years and a $300 to $1,000 fine.
Do Not Accept Money from the Other Driver
When the other driver realizes that they are at fault for the crash, they will often offer you money for the apparent property damage and medical check-ups. Do not accept such an arrangement. In most cases, the driver will give you cash and drive away, without sharing any contact details with you.
Even if your Macon car accident attorney manages to track them down, they will have likely shared the fact of giving money to you with their insurer. When the lawyer tries to file your claim, the insurance company will accuse you of fraud, as you’ve already accepted a private settlement.
Do Not Delay Seeking Medical Care
Many people would rather avoid going to the hospital and accumulating medical care bills if there is no emergency. But the injuries suffered in a car crash definitely qualify as an emergency.
Even if you do not feel pain and other symptoms, you must be aware that you may have suffered internal or delayed injuries, such as:
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spine injuries
- Head and neck injuries.
Left untreated, these injuries may become life-threatening or leave you with a permanent disability or impairment.
From a legal standpoint, not getting medical attention immediately after the crash may cast doubt about the source of your injuries. Let us say that you go to the hospital the next day, or a few days later when you start feeling ill.
An insurance adjuster can easily say that you could have suffered a different accident in the meantime. After all, if you were injured in the car crash, why didn’t go to the hospital?
Do Not Give the Insurance Adjuster a Recorded Statement
Often, an insurance adjuster will contact you within a few days after the car accident, asking for a recorded statement to start the claim process. You cannot refuse to give basic details about the crash, but avoid giving a recorded statement. This will be admissible evidence in court if the insurer refuses to settle.
Also, most adjusters will try to trick you into admitting fault for the accident or making contradictory statements. You should wait until you talk to a lawyer, who will coach you on what to say and what not to say to an adjuster.
It is important to avoid providing an insurance adjuster with ammo to put dents in your case.
Do Not Negotiate Your Claim Without an Attorney
Negotiating a fair car accident settlement involves several key elements:
- Proving the other driver’s fault
- Proving the cause and extent of your injuries
- Justifying your economic and non-economic damages.
You must remember that the person you negotiate with is a trained and experienced professional, whose job is to put dents in your case and reduce the value of your claim or deny it completely if they can.
For this reason, you should have your own trained and experienced professional – a lawyer – to protect your rights and negotiate a fair settlement amount.
Call a Skilled Macon Car Accident Lawyer!
It is difficult to keep in mind everything you have to do after the trauma of a car crash. This is why you should remember the basics: report the accident, go to the hospital, and contact a Macon car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Once you have legal representation, the attorney will handle the paperwork and communications with the insurance adjuster. Remember that, as a new client, you benefit from a free case review, so call us today at 229-210-6226!