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Mistakes Made after a Car Accident

There may be nothing you can do to avoid being injured in a motor vehicle collision but there are some mistakes that can and should be avoided afterward.  The first mistake is leaving the scene of the collision. While most states request that non-disabled vehicles be removed from the roadway as soon as possible, that does not mean one should leave the general area before calling the police and reporting the collision to your insurance company.  A driver who leaves the scene of a collision greatly reduces his or her attorney’s ability to build the best case for damages and might actually put the driver in a position to be blamed for another person’s property damages or physical injuries.

While it is a mistake to leave the scene, it is also a mistake to overly engage in conversations with other drivers or witnesses.  Exchange insurance information if you are physically able to do so, but never engage with a belligerent person and don’t share information not pertinent to the matter at hand.  Wait for the police to arrive, tell them exactly what you remember and provide the police with all requested information. After you return home, write down what you remember a second time for your own records and to share with your attorney.  This will be a useful tool for comparison once the police report becomes available.

Another mistake is disposing of a wrecked vehicle too soon after an accident.  Insurance companies often push to settle a property damage claim very quickly after the vehicle is involved in a collision.  Insurance representatives are specialists in resolving claims and taking possession of vehicles and frequently use the threat of billing an injured driver for vehicle storage fees to force resolution.  Property damage claims should be resolved quickly – but not before one has an opportunity to consult with an attorney, like an auto accident lawyer, and obtain legal advice as to whether the vehicle may be needed for evidence at a future trial.  A reputable personal injury attorney will have a process in place to evaluate the vehicle, document the damages, and determine whether an expert is needed to conduct testing prior to disposal.

Another mistake to be avoided is assuming medical providers are “on your side.”  They aren’t. And the objective observation section of physical therapy records can be shocking for a patient to read.  The patient thinks the relationship with the therapist is bordering on a friendship, but the therapist is there to also observe the patient and make clinical findings.  A therapist may give you a hard time about stretching or trying a little harder and that may come across in a joking manner. But the medical report for that day may very well indicate that the patient wasn’t making best efforts to bring about a speedy recovery.

The best way to avoid mistakes after a car accident is to consult with a reputable attorney at the earliest opportunity.  Attorneys will engage with insurance companies, monitor medical records for ongoing treatment, and arrange for independent medical evaluations when appropriate.  Personal injury attorneys have a vested interest in obtaining the best possible results for their clients and can provide invaluable guidance and direction in avoiding common mistakes.

Experienced Attorney Adam R. Leighton is an AV-Rated lawyer, who focuses his practice in the area of medical negligence, automobile, and premises matters.


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