What People Get Wrong After an Accident
The chaos immediately after a car accident can have some legal implications if the incident later goes to court. Here are a few of the ways you can hurt your personal injury case after an accident.
1. Not Getting Medical Attention
If you’re injured in an accident—even slightly—you should immediately get medical attention for both your medical and legal well-being. If you eventually take the case to court, your medical record can substantiate your claims to personal injury if it shows that you went to the hospital shortly after the wreck. The attending doctor’s notes about your condition can also give both an insurance company handling your claim and the court more information to determine appropriate damages for your pain and suffering.
2. Not Collecting Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
Evidence is the cornerstone of any legal case; it provides a clearer picture of what occurred at the incident in question. While most people don’t want to stick around the scene of an accident, staying to file a police report and collect evidence can change the course of your entire personal injury case. A detailed police report, witness accounts at the scene, and even photographs can help your lawyer effectively fight for you in the courtroom. Take pictures of all vehicles involved, preferably before they are moved. If you have any visible injuries, be sure to document them with photographic evidence. Don’t count on the investigating officer to record identity and contact information of any witnesses – do so yourself. Be sure to get their name, telephone number and address, if possible. Frequently, stories change after you leave the scene of the wreck, so preserving witness information can be crucial.
3. Admitting Fault
This mistake is not one you intentionally make. It could be as simple as saying “I’m sorry,” to the other driver immediately after the accident, even if you weren’t at fault. In Alabama, in particular, this apology can lose you the case since the jury must see the opposing driver as 100% at fault for you to win your personal injury case. Even if you do believe you’re at fault, there are circumstances on the other driver’s side that could have contributed to the accident, making you less liable than you thought. It’s wise to speak as little as possible at the scene of the crash to limit your liability in the case.
4. Giving an At-Fault Insurance Company Too Much Information
The insurance company is never on your side. Their goal is to provide you with the least amount of compensation possible for your claim to save their company money. As a result, avoid giving the insurance company details they’re not entitled to having, like detailed discussions about fault or your injuries, and it’s important never to give a recorded statement.
5. Not Hiring an Attorney
An experienced personal injury attorney will know the complicated details of your state’s laws regarding auto accidents. A local lawyer, in particular, can be a huge asset, as they will have relationships with the local courts and judges. This competitive edge allows them to form a comprehensive strategy that takes into account the individual judge and opposing lawyer when presenting an argument for your case.
In Dothan, Enterprise, and Ozark, AL, residents involved in auto accidents call Carey & Hamner, PC, to take an essential first step in their personal injury case. This firm has used their legal skills to represent car accident victims for the past decade, with a proven record that puts their clients’ needs first. For more information about how our team can help guide you through your personal injury case, call (334) 673-1800 to book a free, no obligation consultation.