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How Car Crash Victims Could Hurt Their Claim for Compensation

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jul 20, 2021 in Auto Accidents

dialing numbers on a smartphone screenThere are many things you should not do after suffering an injury in a car crash caused by another driver. These actions could end up hurting your chances of recovering full compensation for your injuries. This could not only set you back financially, but also hurt your ability to make the best medical recovery possible, given your diagnosis.

Whether you have recently been injured in an accident or not, it is a good idea to review this list of things not to do after a crash. You never know when a crash might happen, and when you may need compensation.

Phillips Law Group’s experienced attorneys have helped many crash victims secure compensation, so we have extensive knowledge of the mistakes many crash victims make.

If you need legal assistance after a car crash, do not hesitate to give our firm a call. There are no upfront fees, which means there is no risk in meeting with us to see how we may be able to help.

Phillips Law Group. A law firm you can trust. Call 1-800-706-3000.

Not Calling the Police

You should always call the police after a car crash. You may not think you are injured, but the stress and anxiety triggered by the crash could be masking your symptoms. It may take a few hours for you to feel the injuries you suffered. Delayed symptoms could indicate a severe injury.

If a crash causes an injury, you are required to call the police and wait for them at the scene. You are also required to call the police if the crash caused at least $1,000 of vehicle damage. Even a minor crash could result in close to $1,000 of damage.

Not only is calling the police something that may be required by law, but the police officer will complete a report on the crash. The report serves as the first official record of the crash and should indicate who the officer thinks is at fault for the crash.

Fault is a central issue in an Arizona car crash claim, as at-fault drivers are financially responsible for damages suffered by the victim.

If you do not call the police, you can be sure the insurance company will use that as a reason to deny or devalue your claim. They may argue it must not have been that bad of a crash if you did not call the police.

Not Gathering Evidence at the Scene

It is important to note that gathering evidence at the scene is not always possible. Victims of serious accidents may be unconscious or unable to get out of their cars.

However, if you can get out of your car and it is safe to do so, you may want to try to gather evidence. At the very least, you can pull out your smartphone and take pictures of the damage sustained by both vehicles. If you have visible injuries, photograph those as well.

While you wait for the police to arrive, other drivers or people nearby may come over to offer help. Ask them if they saw the crash and talk to them about what they remember. You can record your conversation with their permission.

Make sure to get the name and contact information of people that you talk to. Your lawyer can contact them later to ask if they are willing to provide official statements about what they saw.

While your attorney can investigate the scene, by the time he or she arrives, the damaged vehicles may be gone. Parts of the scene may be cleaned up or altered. 

Waiting to See a Doctor

It is important to get to a doctor as soon as possible to stabilize your injuries and begin treatment. Waiting to treat an injury could cause it to worsen and prolong your recovery.

The other reason it is important to see a doctor right away is that it helps connect the injury to the crash. If you have records of a visit to a doctor or emergency room that occurred shortly after the crash, it becomes very difficult for the insurance company to claim you were injured because of something else.

No matter how minor you think your injuries may be, you should get to a doctor right away. They could be more serious than you think, and if you wait to go to a doctor, the insurance company is probably going to use that delay against you.

Stopping Your Medical Treatment

Car crash claims often fall apart because victims stop going to the doctor. Maybe they think they are better and do not need treatment. Maybe the treatment is painful or physically strenuous in some way and victims would prefer to avoid it.

However, the insurance company is going to use that against you. If you have stopped treatment, it is reasonable to assume you are healed and have fully recovered.

It is important to note crash victims may disagree with the treatment they are receiving. Maybe you are experiencing side effects and do not feel the treatment is working. These are all issues to discuss with your doctor. Maybe you should consider seeking a second opinion.

Make sure to inform your attorney of what is going on. That way he or she can be prepared for the insurance company’s attempts to discredit you or devalue your claim.

It is important to continue your treatment until you reach maximum medical improvement. That way, your attorney can determine how much your claim may be worth.

Telling the Insurance Company You Are Partially at Fault

Sometimes crash victims are partially at fault for the crash. If you think you may bear some amount of fault, talk to your attorney about it. He or she can determine if you may be at fault and how this may impact your claim.

However, do not discuss this with the insurance company. Conversations with your attorney are protected by attorney-client privilege. That means the insurance company cannot learn about these conversations, with rare exceptions.

Your attorney is committed to recovering full compensation, unlike the insurance company which is looking for some way to deny or underpay your claim.

What crash victims may not have considered is that they could be wrong. You may not be at fault. Sometimes victims tend to blame themselves, even when there is no legitimate reason for it.

Accepting the First Settlement Offer

The first settlement offer is usually far below the true value of your claim. It is typically just the starting point for negotiations. No matter what the insurance company tells you, that is not the final offer. You or your attorney can negotiate for more money.

While it may be tempting to accept the offer because you have mounting medical bills and cannot work and earn money, it is important to note that once you do, you will be unable to seek more compensation. When you sign a settlement offer, you are also agreeing to release the insurance company from any future financial liability related to the crash.

You need to make sure a settlement offer provides full compensation for your damages before signing it. If you are having trouble paying health care bills, talk to your lawyer about your options. He or she may even be able to negotiate with the provider to hold off on collecting payment until you reach a settlement.

Call Today to Discuss Your Legal Options

One of the most important calls you can make after a car crash is to a lawyer. The insurance company will be looking for some reason to make a lowball offer or simply deny your claim. In fact, they do not even need a good reason to do this.

You need a strong advocate helping to fight for maximum compensation to help you and your family move forward. Phillips Law Group’s car accident lawyers in Phoenix are dedicated to aggressively pursuing compensation for crash victims in Arizona.

Over nearly 30 years, we have obtained millions on behalf of crash victims. We can take your case on contingency, so there are no upfront fees. We will not get paid unless you get paid.

Have questions? Call Phillips Law Group today: 1-800-706-3000.   

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