The aftermath of a car accident can seem like a nightmare. One moment, you were perfectly healthy, and now you might be in the hospital with broken bones or injuries requiring surgery. You might have to take time off work or lose your job because you’ve suddenly become disabled.
If you’ve been in a wreck, one of the smartest things you can do is call a car accident lawyer from Arnold & Bailey. Below, a car accident attorney explains mistakes to avoid after a car accident to boost your chance of a higher settlement.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
Many of our clients only call us after they’ve spoken to the insurance company. If that sounds like you, there’s a chance you may have said something that could affect the outcome of your car accident case.
On a list of “What Not To Do After a Car Accident,” this is the number-one mistake victims can make. Insurance companies don’t want to pay a dime more than they have to, so adjusters will use sneaky tactics to lower your settlement as much as they can.
If the insurance company calls, direct them to contact your car accident lawyer. And if you’ve already spoken to an adjuster, tell your lawyer what you said immediately.
Don’t Sign a Medical Release Form
The insurance company may call and ask you to sign a medical release form. An adjuster might say, “If you just sign this, it’ll help us move your claim along faster.” Don’t fall for it.
Signing a release form allows the insurance company to look at your private medical records. This is bad because the adjuster will comb your medical history for pre-existing conditions.
If they learn you have a bad back, for instance, they might say you injured your spine years ago and that the accident has nothing to do with how hurt you are now.
Don’t Try to Negotiate on Your Own
Even if you think you’re a skilled debater, it’s never smart to negotiate with the insurance company by yourself. Insurance adjusters are trained to make you think they’re giving you a good deal. In reality, they’re offering the lowest amount they think you’ll accept.
Rather than risking a low settlement, have your attorney negotiate for you.
Don’t Skip Medical Treatment
You may think you’re not badly hurt, so you decide not to go to the doctor. That choice could come back to bite you if the insurance company finds out.
“You weren’t hurt enough to need care,” the adjuster might say, “so this is the highest amount we can offer you.”
What happens if you discover your car accident injuries are worse than you first thought? If you’ve taken a settlement, you can’t go back later and demand more money. This is why it’s important to see a doctor soon after an accident so you know how much your damages are worth.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Even if the first settlement offer sounds like a great deal, it rarely is. Don’t accept it simply because you’re sick of dealing with the insurance company and want to move on with your life. An auto accident lawyer can tell you whether your offer is fair and negotiate for more if necessary.