Avoid These Common Auto Accident Mistakes

A car accident can have a devastating impact on your life. Depending on the severity of the incident, there could be financial, emotional, and physical repercussions that last for months, years, or even a lifetime. If another party is at fault for your accident, you want to be able to recover all the damages you are entitled to by law. However, car accident victims frequently make mistakes that end up reducing their claim amount. You don’t want this to be you, so you should know about different ways that you can protect yourself following a car crash. 

common auto accident mistakes blog post graphic - car and gavel by kyle w jones bakersfield california

Here are five common auto accident mistakes to avoid:

Not Seeking Medical Assistance

If you don’t sustain an obvious injury after a minor car wreck, you may believe that you don’t need to pursue medical care afterward. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you don’t receive treatment at the scene, you should still follow up with your medical provider immediately following the accident. Often, victims won’t feel the effects of an accident until hours or even days later. Injuries such as whiplash, internal bleeding, head trauma, and organ damage might not present symptoms right away, but they are very serious medical concerns that need to be addressed. It’s crucial to have a medical professional check you out to ensure you don’t have any hidden injuries caused by the accident. 

If you don’t seek medical care right away and later discover you have an injury, the other driver’s insurance company could argue that your injury wasn’t caused by the accident at all or that it isn’t serious enough to warrant damages. It’s best to protect yourself by getting medical attention as soon as possible. You should also be sure to obtain copies of any medical records and payments you make for any immediate, follow-up, or rehabilitative care. These can be used to support your injury claim if you’re found to be eligible for compensation. 

Not Filing an Accident Report

Depending on the severity of your accident, law enforcement may or may not report to the scene of the crash. However, you should always call to report the incident. This creates a record of the event in case there are any questions about what occurred. If law enforcement does not arrive, you should exchange information with the other driver, take photos or videos of any obvious damage or injuries, and get the contact information of any witnesses who may have stuck around. These things can protect you by reducing questions about what exactly occurred and who is actually responsible for the incident. 

Admitting Fault for the Accident

Immediately following your accident, you may have a lot of things on your mind. You may be worried about your car, physical injuries, and taking time off work to recover. However, when speaking to anyone about the incident, it is extremely important to avoid admitting any level of fault. When discussing what happened with law enforcement at the scene, you should only provide objective details. Also, do not engage with the other driver any more than necessary. You don’t want to have to worry about them saying something that could paint you in a negative light. Don’t apologize for the accident because this can make it seem like you think it’s your fault. You should also avoid posting about it on social media, as many details can get misconstrued online. 

Waiting Too Long to Act

Suppose you experience a minor car accident. Your car has minimal damage, and you don’t have any obvious injuries. You may think you don’t have a case for an injury claim. However, things can pop up later that you might not expect. For example, you could have a hidden injury, or your vehicle could have internal damage. Suddenly, you’re left with medical or car repair bills you didn’t count on. However, by putting off pursuing an injury claim, you might not have as good an outcome as you would have by acting early on. 

Additionally, you should note that California has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In general, victims have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim. By beginning a claim early, you will give your lawyer ample time to gather all the evidence needed to build a strong case for compensation. 

Speaking to the Insurance Company Without Representation

The other driver’s insurance company will reach out to you almost immediately following the accident. They will attempt to gather details from your perspective of what happened. However, you should remember that their ultimate goal is to find a way to reduce or even eliminate your insurance claim. They may use deceptive tactics to get you to say something that would give you some fault, or even all of the fault, for the accident. This can reduce your claim by thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars. 

The insurance provider will attempt to get you to settle for as little as possible, and the sum may not account for everything that you lose due to the accident, such as lost wages, future lost income, or any long-term medical care you may need to recover fully. It’s important not to accept this first offer without first consulting with a Bakersfield attorney. Your attorney will let you know if the amount is reasonable, and if not, they can present a counteroffer on your behalf. This back-and-forth process will continue until a fair settlement can be reached. In the event that neither party agrees to a settlement, your attorney will be able to represent you in court. 

At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we recommend getting in contact with our auto accident lawyer before your initial contact with insurance representatives. We will be able to provide you with legal counsel on how to interact with the insurance company to maximize your compensation. We can also represent you in settlement negotiations and, if necessary, in court. Our goal is to make the process as stress-free as possible during this difficult time. 

Contact a Bakersfield Auto Accident Attorney

The best way to protect yourself after an accident is by consulting with a lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Office of Kyle W. Jones has collected over $15 million in compensation for our clients, and we’re prepared to help you with your case. We work hard every day to ensure that our clients receive the funds they need to recover from an accident and move forward with their lives. 

If you’ve been in a car accident, you need experienced representation on your side. We will work directly with you to uncover the details of the incident and build the strongest case possible to support your injury claim. We take a personalized approach to every case to ensure everything is accounted for. 

At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we understand the financial strain that an accident can cause if you’ve experienced lost wages or high medical bills related to your injury. However, you don’t have to bear this burden alone. Contact our Bakersfield law firm today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an auto accident lawyer.

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