Car accidents – even seemingly minor ones – can be confusing and upsetting. Unfortunately, car accident victims often make avoidable mistakes that can hurt or even eliminate any legal claims that they might have. The following are some of the most common car accidents mistakes and how to avoid them:
- Not gathering the necessary information at the accident scene. Often times after a car accident, the drivers will fail to contact the police and obtain crucial evidence at the crash site. It is important to always contact the police after a car accident, regardless of how minor or severe the accident is, since an official police report is critical to supporting a legal claim. Additionally, if you are able, you should take photos of the accident scene and jot down notes regarding the circumstances of the accident, such as road conditions and possible witnesses.
- Not contacting a car accident attorney soon enough. Auto accident claims, like all personal injury claims, have a strict statute of limitations. Accordingly, it is important that you promptly consult with a car accident lawyer to ensure that claim deadlines are met. Moreover, a car accident lawyer can communicate with insurance companies on your behalf, help you preserve evidence, and advise you of your legal rights and options.
- Foregoing medical care. Even if you do not notice any visible signs or symptoms of injury after the accident, you should still get medical treatment after a car accident since some injuries, like whiplash or back injuries, do not manifest themselves for several hours or days. Moreover, it is important to have as much medical documentation of your injuries as possible, including a prompt initial diagnosis. You should also make sure to attend all doctor appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery. If you do not follow your doctor’s instructions, you could be seen as exacerbating the medical condition, which can impact your ability to recover money damages for the injuries.
- Talking to the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, which means that they want to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible, without necessarily considering the particular circumstances of your claim. Although you should notify your own insurance company of the accident, you are under no obligation to communicate with the other party’s insurance company. Moreover, you should not provide any written statements or sign any legal documents without consulting a lawyer.
- Failing to preserve evidence. Many times a car accident victim will fail to preserve evidence under the assumption that certain information isn’t important or necessary. You should make sure to retain photos, medical records, receipts for repairs, receipts for rental cars, receipts for medical care, witness statements, personal notes, and any other information that pertains to the car accident or your recovery.
- Discussing the accident or lawsuit on social media. Any information on social media – including Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, and Pinterest – is public information. As such, any information that you post, including photos and status updates, can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit. The best option is to avoid social media interactions entirely for a period of time, but if you must be on social media, you should control the content that is on your profile and the content that is linked back to you.
Contact an Illinois Auto Accident Lawyer
The Chicago car accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC can guide you through the aftermath of a car accident and advocate on your behalf for maximum financial recovery. If you were involved in a car accident in or around Chicago, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our auto accident lawyers.