Top 5 Things NOT to Do Following A Car Wreck
A car wreck can happen to anyone at any moment, and there’s not much that’s more disorienting. If you are injured in that car wreck, the outcomes can be emotionally and mentally taxing and physically painful to endure. Healing from an injury sustained because of someone else’s negligence takes a lot of energy in and of itself. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of any car wreck, there will be tasks to prove your injuries and damage to property.
In the days following a wreck, the insurance companies will get right to work obtaining the police report (if there is one) and interviewing the drivers involved and any witnesses. Insurance companies often take these steps in the first 48 hours following their receipt of a claim. If you've sustained an injury, it can be disorienting and confusing to know how best to proceed. Some individuals may be emotionally shaken by their experience or that of a loved one and may respond by posting to social media or divulging details to the insurance adjuster that may ultimately harm their chances of securing a recovery.
To maximize your recovery and preserve your rights in the event of an injury-causing car wreck, we recommend against the following:
Posting your wreck footage on social media. Insurance adjusters and attorneys routinely use social media to support their investigations. Anything you post online may be searchable, especially if you don’t regularly review your privacy settings or if you maintain a more public profile. Posting a photo or narrative of your recent collision is unwise because an insurance adjuster or attorney for the insurance company may use the very fact that you are posting on social media as evidence that you are not badly hurt. (The thinking goes that you can’t be too beat up or emotionally distraught if you have the wherewithal to be posting on social media.) Photos themselves can be used as evidence against you. Investigators can use photos and narratives to suggest that you are not as badly hurt as you claim or that you are exaggerating your injuries, pain and suffering. It’s usually best to refrain from posting on social media until the resolution of your case. Even seemingly innocuous posts can be used against you.
Delaying medical treatment. This is one of the most common mistakes in personal injury cases. If you’ve been hurt, you need to seek treatment immediately. If you delay seeking treatment and later determine that you need to pursue a personal injury recovery, a delay in seeking treatment can be used as evidence against you. An insurance investigator may claim that you are exaggerating your claims and use the delay to support their claims. If you have any injuries, get checked out at the scene by a first responder. Go to the hospital and seek diagnosis and treatment. Make sure you retain records of your injuries. If you are able to do so, keep notes of conversations with physicians.
Admitting fault for any part of the crash. Following a crash, your interactions with the other party should be minimal and straightforward. Keep your communication simple. Exchange insurance information and call the police. Do not admit fault to the police. Simply provide them with an account of what happened from your perspective. If you admit fault, this will be included in the report and used against you during the investigation. Remember that you are not responsible for determining fault or conducting an investigation. The less you say, the better. Any admission of fault will be used by the insurance company to attempt to devalue any future claim.
Neglecting to get a copy of the police report. If there’s a police report, you can bet it will be obtained by both insurance companies to get an account of what happened. However, police reports are only one piece of the puzzle. Your narrative is another piece of the puzzle. And the narrative of the other driver is the final piece. All these elements come together to help investigators recreate a picture of what they believe happened. Obtaining a copy of the police report helps you to understand what the police believe happened. Insurance company investigators will have a copy, and they will heavily rely on it. If it’s inaccurate, you need to know that.
Not swapping insurance information with the other driver or forgetting to take photos. It seems like the most natural thing in the world to swap insurance information with the other driver, but believe it or not, it’s not uncommon to forget. It's also VERY easy to forget to take photos there at the scene. If you’ve been injured, it’s more likely you’ll forget or be unable to obtain this critical information. If you forget to get insurance information at the scene of the crash, reach out to the police officer who responds to the crash later to obtain the other party’s information.
If you’ve been in an accident and sustained injuries, you need to speak with an attorney to determine if your injuries warrant pursuing a recovery and to preserve your rights. Before speaking with any insurance adjusters or finalizing any settlement, reach out for help assessing your case. We can help preserve your rights and ensure you are treated fairly.