5 Mistakes Commonly Made After a Car Accident
Have You Recently Been in a Car Accident?
A car accident can cause a lot of confusion and distress, in particular, you may be disoriented or upset immediately after a collision. As well, an accident may result in serious injuries. When another party is responsible for the accident, the cost of these injuries will fall to the other driver or their insurance provider. In the event you caused the caused the crash, you might be liable for the costs of personal injury and property damage. In either instance, you want to be certain your personal and financial interests are protected following a traffic accident.
What you do or say following a car accident will impact a claim for compensation, irrespective of whether you are at fault or not. As accident attorneys in Denver, our legal team at The Fang Law Firm sees clients make similar mistakes time and again after an accident occurs. By avoiding these five mistakes you can better prepare for a personal injury claim or other legal action.
#1: Failing to Call the Police
It might be intimidating to speak with a police officer after a car accident, but the consequences of not calling the police are much worse. First, a police report is taken when the events and details are fresh in the minds of those involved and witnesses. The more time that passes, the less clear these events will be, and the more potential there is for error in memory or perception.
Second, a police report provides an objective account of the accident. Later on, this documentation will prevent other parties from making false statements in a court filing or deposition. If a personal injury claim proceeds to trial, the police report will be admitted as evidence, and is often influential with jurors and judges.
#2: Refusing Medical Attention
After a car accident in Denver, one of the most important steps is obtaining timely medical treatment. If you have an obvious injury, seek emergency care but it is also possible that the onset of pain could be delayed by the adrenaline of an accident. Even if you don’t have noticeable pain or harm, you may want to have a doctor check for soft tissue damage, such as neck or back injury.
If you choose to file a lawsuit in Colorado, you will need evidence that your injuries were caused by the accident. A doctor’s evaluation and diagnosis soon after the accident can help significantly.
#3: Collecting Insufficient Information
In the event of a lawsuit, you need as much evidence as possible from the accident scene and immediately after. Therefore, once injuries are assessed, it is imperative that you document the circumstances at the accident.
Write down personal and insurance information from the other driver. Take photos of your vehicle and other vehicles involved in the car accident. Also, photograph the conditions of the road and any signage or other relevant surroundings. Write a personal account of the incident events and occurrences; while this account should be from your perspective, it is important to stick to the facts and avoid conjecture.
If you are hurt, be certain to also carefully collect information on your injuries. Photograph any external symptoms, keep medical records, and request a doctor’s written assessment of the injuries. You will need information on emergency medical care, visits to any specialists, and proof of any ongoing treatment. In the even that you file a personal injury claim, all of these costs could be the responsibility of the at-fault driver.
#4: Admitting Fault to a Police Officer, Other Party or Insurance Provider
Provided you aren’t seriously injured in the car accident, the Denver police or other authorities may ask for a statement or take a report at the accident scene. The officers will ask you to recount the events before, during, and after the accident happened. Throughout this process it is essential that you do not admit fault for the accident. The police may determine one party of the other was at-fault or the report could be inclusive. As well, you might incorrectly believe you caused the collision. But if you tell an officer that you caused the accident, it will be difficult to show otherwise during a personal injury case.
You also want to avoid saying, “sorry,” to individuals involved in the accident. While apologizing to another individual involved in the car accident might seem polite or considerate, it can later be twisted as an admission of guilt. Even the other party may not consider the words, “I’m sorry,” to be accepting blame for the accident, but an insurance company can make it seem that way. You want to avoid any statement that might be interpreted as admitting fault or responsibility for the incident.
Lastly, you need to contact your insurance company after an accident, but in this initial phone call, you want to provide just the basic information. In particular, do not provide details of fault or responsibility until you speak with a Colorado accident attorney.
While you want to take care when speaking with the Denver police, an insurance company, and other parties at or soon after a car accident, you never want to lie or exaggerate. It might be tempting to play up an injury or reposition circumstances leading to an accident in an attempt to achieve a better outcome. However, even seemingly harmless, white lies can lessen your credibility and integrity later on.
Don’t Wait to Contact a Car Accident Attorney
In addition to the common mistakes above, many individuals in Denver wait to contact an accident attorney following a collision or crash. Yet, the sooner you speak with a lawyer, the better your opportunity for recovery in a personal injury claim. As well, under Colorado law you are only afforded a specific amount of time to initiate a personal injury claim; take too long and you could be barred from recovery by the statute of limitations.
Begin the process of compensation today by contacting The Fang Law Firm in downtown Denver. Our Colorado personal injury lawyers are prepared to take your accident case and ensure you receive the best possible outcome after an accident. Contact us at (303) 993-4323 to schedule an initial consultation today.