Common Mistakes After a Car Accident
Did you know that approximately six million car accidents occur annually each year? While these statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are eye-opening, they highlight just how common they are in Rancho Cucamonga and the rest of the United States. Furthermore, they point out just how much risk drivers face every time they get behind the wheel of a car.
There are a ton of articles online that talk about what you should do following a car accident, but what about what you shouldn’t do? Making the wrong move after a car accident can significantly affect your claim and compensation award. When you’re injured and out of work, this is the last thing you want. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid after a car accident and how an experienced car accident attorney in Rancho Cucamonga can help you on your road to recovery.
1. Failing to Call the Police After the Accident
Most personal injury blogs highlight how important it is to call the police following a Rancho Cucamonga car accident – and for good reason, too! When you call the police to the accident scene, they’ll not only bring the paramedics with them to tend to any on-site injuries and transport injured victims to the hospital, but they will also create an accident report or police report.
This police report usually contains vital information about the auto accident and will be incredibly important to your claim should you decide to pursue legal action against the negligent driver. The police will record the time and location of the accident, contact information for both parties involved, as well as who they believe to be at fault based on witness testimony and observation of the scene.
While determining liability in a car accident involves a thorough investigation and accident reconstruction experts, this police report can offer critical support to substantiate your claims.
2. Admitting Fault
Maybe you glanced down at your phone for a second right before the accident happened, so in your mind, you believe you’re at fault for the accident. However, unless a proper investigation is conducted, you don’t really know what caused the accident, so early omissions of fault can cost you in the long run.
Insurance companies are only focused on keeping their bottom line. To do this, they will find any reason and justification – such as the omission of guilt – to deny or underpay the true value of your car accident claim. Remember, everything you say can be used against you when dealing with a legal matter. If you apologize for the accident at the crash site or while on the phone with the insurance company, the defendant and their insurance carrier could use this to try and deny liability.
Instead of admitting fault for the accident, just be honest about what you know. As previously mentioned, the investigation may show that the other driver was drinking at the time of the accident or that their brakes were defective, making it impossible for them to avoid the collision. Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, your Rancho Cucamonga auto accident lawyer can still help you collect compensation even if you were partially at fault.
3. Failing to Notify the DMV and Your Insurance Company
While a call to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may not be high on your to-do list, it’s required under state law when a car accident results in more than $1,000 worth of property damage, injury, or death. If any of these scenarios apply to your case, you’re required to notify the DMV within 10 days otherwise you could have your driver’s license suspended.
When you’re already dealing with missed time off work due to the accident, the last thing you need to deal with is a license suspension. In addition to reporting the accident to the DMV, you should report the accident and your injuries to your insurance carrier as soon as possible, as any unreasonable delay could result in the denial of your car accident claim.
4. Posting on Social Media
In today’s digital-obsessed world, it’s normal to post a play-by-play of your life on social media. And, when it comes to a car accident, chances are it’s something you’re going to want to share pictures of or talk about what happened online so your friends and family are in the loop. While your intentions may be good, any experienced Rancho Cucamonga car accident lawyer will tell you that doing this can be a huge mistake for your car accident claim.
Insurance carriers and defendants in a car accident lawsuit are looking for any reason to deny liability and underpay your claim. As such, they can use your social media posts as evidence that you’re not as significantly injured as you claim, or even worse, not hurt at all. This is because social media posts can be taken out of context. Even though you’re severely injured and in a lot of pain, a picture you posted with friends can be used to demonstrate that the opposite is true – even if you only stood up for a minute to snap the photo.
When you’re dealing with a car accident claim, the best advice is to stay off social media until the lawsuit is over. At no point during the claim process should you talk about the case. You can always ask your car accident lawyer about how you should handle social media during your initial consultation.
5. Accepting the First Settlement Offer
When you’re out of work recovering from a car accident, it can be very tempting to accept the insurance company’s quick settlement offer. However, your car accident lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga will tell you that it’s usually not a good idea to do so simply because you may not know the true extent of your injuries yet.
Some car accident injuries worsen over time and require surgery and ongoing medical treatment, which may prolong your return to work, or in some cases, force you to transition into a brand-new career.
As such, your car accident lawyer will hire economic experts to help calculate your lost wages and future earning capabilities if you can’t return to work, while other records like your co-pays and receipts will be used to calculate the full value of your medical costs. By accepting a fast settlement offer, you may not be accounting for future expenses should your injuries worsen with time. Instead, talk to your car accident attorney about whether the settlement offer is sufficient before ever accepting it.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident in Rancho Cucamonga CA? Call an Auto Accident Lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga at Sierra Accident Lawyers For Help
The aftermath of a car accident can be a complicated and confusing time, which is why it’s always in your best interest to contact an experienced Rancho Cucamonga car accident lawyer to protect your rights. They will advise you on what you should (and shouldn’t) do so that your compensation award isn’t jeopardized when you need it most. Call Sierra Accident Lawyers at 909-942-7632 for a consultation with one of our Rancho Cucamonga car accident lawyers. You can also fill out our contact form online.