After you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you have the legal right to seek compensation for damages related to your injuries if another party caused the accident. Whether you receive compensation and the amount you could receive depends on several factors, some of which you have no control. However, accident victims can take several steps that strengthen their injury claim and increase the chances they receive the maximum compensation commensurate with their injuries.
Some actions can adversely impact your claim and prevent you from recovering damages or recovering the full amount you deserve. Here are five common mistakes people make after a car accident:
1. Failing to Seek Medical Treatment
Even after the most serious car accidents, some people are fortunate to remain conscious and walk away from the accident. They might feel sore, or they might not feel any pain at all. Lack of pain does not automatically mean someone did not suffer injuries. The trauma of a car accident often releases adrenaline throughout the body, which masks the feeling of pain in some. Additionally, some injuries do not immediately show symptoms; it can take hours or days before someone notices symptoms.
For example, someone who sustained a couple of broken ribs in a car accident might feel slightly sore in the torso. Without treatment, more pain will come later and the person risks causing more internal damage. Head traumas also sometimes have delayed symptoms. A minor headache after bumping your head during a car accident can indicate a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Medical documentation of accident injuries is crucial to prevailing in an injury claim. They prove that you’ve experienced harm and that the harm resulted from the accident, making it difficult for the insurance company or a legal defense team to argue otherwise.
2. Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
If another driver caused the car accident that led to your injuries, it’s likely your first steps will include filing a claim under the driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance coverage. Insurance companies do not automatically pay out a claim against one of their policyholders. They take time to investigate the accident and injuries. Adjusters and other insurance representatives will go the extra mile to find a reason to deny your claim or pay out a lesser amount. As part of the investigation, insurance adjusters interview the claimant to get their statement about how the accident happened, their injuries, and other relevant information. Most adjusters ask to record the statement.
Tragically, many claimants agree to be recorded, so they can tell their side of the story after an accident. Yet, the insurance company now has the claimant on record, and they pick and choose which parts of the interview to use and twist words to use them against the claimant. A recorded statement often gives insurance companies what they need to deny or devalue a car accident injury claim.
3. Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Making an early settlement offer is another tactic that insurance companies use to avoid paying out a large claim to a car accident victim. After investigating, insurance carriers have a good idea of whether their policyholder caused an accident. They know if they drag the claim out too long or go to trial that it’s likely they will have to pay a large amount of damages to a claimant. In these cases, it’s likely the insurance company will make an early settlement offer. The first settlement offers, especially when they come soon after an accident, intend to entice accident victims to accept the settlement, but they do not fully compensate accident victims for their injuries.
These early, predatory settlement offers create problems for accident victims in two ways. First, knowing the true value of your claim requires a clear understanding of the extent of injuries and a patient’s long-term prognosis. It’s unlikely a claimant knows the complete amount of damages when the first settlement offer comes in. Second, and related, accepting a settlement offer means signing an agreement that prevents a claimant from making future claims or bringing a lawsuit for damages in the future. If an accident victim accepts an offer and later finds out they need another surgery, more treatment, or should receive compensation for a permanent injury, they have given up their right to seek additional compensation for damages.
4. Posting on Social Media
Creating social media posts is another common mistake people make after a car accident. Insurance carriers dig into every aspect of a person’s life when they investigate a claim. This includes attempting to gain access to social media accounts. The carrier will use posts and photos to downplay a claimant’s injuries or twist the information in any way that justifies devaluing or denying a claim. For example, if you post pictures of you attending a family function, such as a wedding, or going on a family vacation, the carrier might try to argue that your accident injuries are not as bad as you claim if you can travel. It’s best for accident victims to avoid making any posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. until they have resolved their accident injury claim with the insurance company.
5. Not Hiring an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Some car accident victims go it alone with insurance companies because they think they cannot afford a lawyer, or they do not understand how a personal injury lawyer can help. Lawyers are trained negotiators who are used to dealing with questionable tactics sometimes employed by insurance companies. Hiring a lawyer often ensures that insurance companies play fair. In most cases, an experienced car accident attorney can secure a higher settlement for a claimant than he or she could secure without a lawyer. Additionally, accident attorneys take cases on a contingent fee basis, so clients do not need to pay attorney fees upfront or out-of-pocket.
Understanding the intricacies of car accidents is crucial for victims. For instance, there are various types of car accidents and each can lead to different injuries and damages. Some victims might suffer from common car accident injuries, while others might need to calculate lost wages after an accident. Moreover, car accidents are just one type of personal injury. There are also mass tort cases and work-related accidents that require specialized knowledge. By hiring a lawyer, victims can navigate these complexities with ease, ensuring they get the compensation they deserve.
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in New Orleans or the surrounding area, contact the skilled legal team at Alvendia, Kelly & Demarest online or at 504-200-0000 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and injuries.
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In 2003, after being dissatisfied with the quality of legal care for victims of car accidents, Roderick ‘Rico’ Alvendia sought to establish a new firm focused on providing high-quality legal services to aid injured victims and their families. J. Bart Kelly, sharing Rico’s passion for upholding justice, joined the firm later that year, and established a partnership.
They helped me with every need possible. The back issues I had could have been much worse if they didn’t step in and help me. Bart, Megan, and all the people that work for this legal team are amazing. I would recommend them to anyone. Thank you all for helping me each step of the way. I can’t thank these people enough.
- T. Gibson-Warren
I want to thank the whole team for all your help and persistence with my settlement. I truly appreciate.
- A. Alfortish
Great experiences every time I need you guys. I always recommend your firm.
- W. Young
Bart and his team were wonderful to work with. It was clear that their vision and determination to fight for our case, is why we were able to reach a settlement, where my previous attorney was not.
- C. Perez
Bart Kelly and his legal team reevaluated my case after another attorney backed away from a legal challenge, I just want to say Thank You to mr kelly and his team for the hard work and dedication to my case to make it successful . Thank You
- N. Gex
Attorney Kelly is an impeccable attorney. He has represented me extremely well. I was very, very, very pleased with the outcome of my settlement. He’s highly recommended … to give assistance to anyone. I thank him for his services and I’m super elated over the way he handled the case. He is a phenomenal lawyer.
- S. Spears
I’ve learned the importance of having good coverage insurance, thanks to Mr. Kelly explaining everything to me. We do not hope or wait for accidents, but rest assured that I will call Mr. Kelly again if I need his services. Thank you.
- Ann Zimmer
Being represented by Mr. Kelly and his legal team was a very awesome experience. They were very patient and they worked really hard in resolving my case. I would most definitely refer them to all my friends and associates. Thank you very much.
- Nathaniel Bonney
I am very grateful for Mr. Bart’s assistance. He was very professional and fair. I never felt like a client with him. I always felt like a close friend. Also, I would like to thank everyone in the office for being friendly, kind, and for helping me.
- Glac Mantuso
Just want to say thanks a lot because I received way more than I expected. You guys did a wonderful job of getting the max for myself and my family. Everyone I met or spoke to on the phone was really professional and nice. Once again, thanks a lot.
- Jessica Quinn
J. Bart Kelly is the best attorney I have ever met. He is intelligent, caring, understanding, and knows how to protect his clients. I love his strong take-charge attitude to fight for what is right.
- Teri Haas
My lawyer took the time to explain everything in a clear and concise manner. I’ve been treated fairly and with the utmost respect. I am very appreciative of all of the staff at AKD for their services.
- James Barber
I am grateful for the way that my case was handled. Thanks.
- Darryl Hill
Thanks to Bart and Meg. Fantastic group of people and team. Love you guys.
- Claudine Hope
I was involved in a terrible accident and had a lot of serious injuries. I was so happy that Bart (and his team, including his nurse paralegal) was my attorney. The results were much more than expected as far as the settlement. Thanks.
- Karen Bourgeois
I received exceptional service from the law office of Bart Kelly. He is a great attorney who cares about what you are going through, and I am very pleased with the outcome.
- Melissa Sanchez