Shock, fear, confusion, guilt, anxiety, sadness, anger, shame and regret. These are some of the emotions you are likely to grapple with after a DC car accident (there were 19,456 accidents in 2013). Depending on the severity of the crash, it takes persons involved a while to regain their composure.
It is during this state of distress when drivers will make major errors that haunt them in the claims process later on. If you are ever in a car accident, there are certain things you want to keep an eye on if you do not want to be taken advantage of and lose what you deserve. We look at a few.
Failure to See a Doctor
Nobody will fail to see the need to go to hospital if they have been in a catastrophic collision. The injuries are so severe that going to a hospital is a matter of extreme urgency. What one should guard against are the accidents that either do not cause immediately noticeable injury or where the injury feels bearable enough for one to continue with their day. On the face of it, that seems like a productive use of one’s limited time. It is however a potentially costly miscalculation.
Seeking treatment promptly ensures your paperwork is robust from the get-go. Insurance companies together with the defendant will look for any valid reason not to pay your claim. If you did not see a doctor immediately after the crash, they’ll argue that you were probably not significantly injured in the first place. Seeing a doctor creates a formal record of the injury. Waiting too long to before heading to the hospital may compel the insurance company to reject your medical condition as being unconnected to the accident.
Talking to the Defendant’s Insurance Company
Insurance companies are primarily driven by a profit motive. When they do call you for your version of events, they are looking out for their own interests and that of the defendant (their client). Their goal is to look for legitimate grounds not to pay.
Many accident victims will unfortunately be overly cooperative with the insurer’s interrogation in the assumption they are an objective, independent and detached player in the process. They are appalled when they later realize the insurer was not doing them any favors but building a case for rejecting the claim.
Failure to Involve the Police
Drivers will fail to inform law enforcement about the accident because they either forgot to do so, entered a gentleman’s agreement with the other party, or simply did not think the crash was serious enough to require police attention. This is a serious oversight. If you file a claim for the accident and the other party disputes your account of the events, it will be your word against theirs and makes the process that more protracted than it would have been.
When you notify the police, they’ll file a report of the crash that includes a description of the accident circumstances and the party they think was at fault. If the insurance company disputes the claim, the police report is not the only documentation of events that the court will rely on to reach a decision. However, it will provide a fairly reliable and unbiased view of what happened. In addition, the defendant is likely to be reluctant to change their story if an authoritative 3rd party such as the police was at hand to document the incident as opposed to just the two of you.
Accepting Fault at the Scene
If you believe you caused a crash that caused someone else to be seriously injured or killed, it is only natural for you to be overcome with guilt and regret over what has just happened. The law requires you to stop, share your details and provide emergency assistance to anyone who has been hurt. It does not however oblige you to accept responsibility to the other party.
Regardless of how badly you might feel about the crash, do not tell the defendant anything that may be interpreted as your acceptance of liability for the crash. Keep your conversations around helping each other. Matters of liability are best handled by your experienced DC car accident lawyer.
DC Car Accidents Lawyers
No one leaves their home, school or work place expecting to be in a car accident. Sadly, accidents will happen and may cause death, serious injury and/or property damage. If you or your loved was involved in a crash, get in touch with DC Car Accident Lawyers for a free consultation. You will not be required to pay any fees until your claim for compensation is successful.
A lot of accident victims end up getting less than they deserve because of a lack of legal representation. Do not take that risk when the negative impact of the collision could linger for years. We will work with you to ensure the at fault party is held responsible.