Common Mistakes You Should Avoid After a Car Crash
What you do—and what you don’t do—immediately after a car accident can have consequences for everything, from your driving record to your finances, and it can affect your chances of successfully bringing a personal injury claim. If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to hire an experienced attorney to guide your next steps. At Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney in West Chester, Pennsylvania, our attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the fair compensation you are owed.
In the meantime, it’s important to know some common mistakes many people make following a car accident in Pennsylvania—and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not Seeking Medical Help Right Away
The most important thing to do following a car accident is to assess yourself and others for any injuries. Call an ambulance right away if you suspect an injury might be serious. Certain injuries may not seem significant at first; for example, a head injury that seems minimal could very well become serious or fatal if you do not seek immediate medical attention. Even if you don’t think you have an immediate injury, go to a doctor right away.
Mistake 2: Not Calling the Police to the Scene
In Pennsylvania, a car accident is reportable if it has resulted in a death, injury requiring medical attention, or serious damage to a vehicle. If you fail to report an accident, you can face penalties such as driver’s license suspension.
Calling the police ensures that the accident is well-documented. This can be useful if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.
Mistake 3: Admitting Guilt
Even if you believe you were fully or partly at fault for the crash, it is never a good idea to say so to anyone involved in the accident or to any witnesses. There may be a chance that you are not entirely at fault or not at fault at all; however, if you admit guilt, the other party can use this against you if they decide to file a personal injury claim.
Mistake 4: Not Taking Time to Gather Evidence - Photographs
If you plan to file a personal injury claim, your success may depend on how much evidence you can collect at the scene. Gather information such as witnesses’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Take pictures of the accident scene, including the vehicles and the area around them. If the other driver has fled, see if you can recall or gather information about their vehicle (make and model, color, plate number, etc.) from witnesses.
Mistake 5: Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
It’s important to take the time needed to get your injuries medically assessed and speak with an attorney to determine the amount of compensation to seek. However, you should not wait longer than is necessary. In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date you sustained an injury to file a personal injury lawsuit for an unresolved claim.
Mistake 6: Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
If the other party was at fault, their insurance company will most likely waste no time in calling you to get a statement about the accident. It’s unwise to give a statement so soon after the accident, as you may not be aware of all the facts, including the extent of your injuries. If you give a statement outlining your injuries and then later find out that they are more severe than you originally thought, the other driver’s insurance company can argue that you should receive less money based on your original statement.
Mistake 7: Accepting the First Offer from the Insurance Company
The insurance company may give you an option to settle very quickly, but the settlement amount will most likely be less than your actual claim will be worth. You may be tempted to accept the money now, but if you wait until your injuries are properly assessed, you could increase your chances of getting fair compensation.
Mistake 8: Not Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury attorney can advocate on your behalf to the police, the court, and insurance companies so that you can receive the amount of compensation that takes all of your injuries into account. If you try to tackle the personal injury claims process—and battle insurance companies—alone, it is unlikely that you will receive the remuneration to which you are entitled.
Helping You Make Safe Choices
At Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney, we are here for you. Our attorneys Larry Goldberg, Joel W. Goldberg, Chad Maloney, and Basil G. Joy will bring their litigation expertise and passionate dedication to justice to your personal injury case, aiming to help you secure proper compensation and regain your peace of mind. Call us at Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney in West Chester, Pennsylvania today for a consultation.