The aftermath of a car accident can be a whirlwind of attorney meetings, negotiations and court appearances before you ever see any financial settlement that can help you pay for your recovery. With so many steps in the process, there's always the potential for making a mistake that may cost you thousands in your settlement. Here are a few mistakes that you should strive to avoid along the way to help preserve your chances at a sufficient settlement.
Lying or Misrepresenting the Situation
It is essential that all of the information you provide after an accident be accurate. After all, you can be sure that law enforcement will conduct a thorough investigation and likely discover anything you've neglected to share. If the insurance company for the responsible party discovers that you were dishonest in your statements, it could cause them to question your credibility and potentially refuse the claim.
Being honest about the accident may even mean admitting to doing something that you weren't supposed to. Surveillance video, forensic evidence and even eyewitness statements can reveal details like texting while driving, distracted driving and other issues that could threaten your credibility. If you aren't sure what may be relevant to the investigation, talk to your attorney about it.
If you're waiting for the hearing while you recover, it's not uncommon to find that the insurance company is monitoring your activities. Make sure you're not doing anything that's beyond the scope of your recovery. For example, if you're seeking restitution for leg injury but the investigation reveals that you ran a marathon a month after the accident, your claim may be denied for misrepresentation.
Talking Too Much
Throughout the process, you're going to face a lot of questions from a lot of different people. The best thing you can do to protect yourself legally is to refer all of those questions to your attorney. He or she will know which questions you should answer and which ones aren't relevant to the investigation. The more focused your answers to these questions, the less risk you'll have of something being problematic in court. Trust your attorney to tell you how much information is too much.
Although you may not immediately connect the two, your social media accounts should fall under this consideration as well. Be careful about what you say on social media during the entire process, because anything that's posted could be accessed by investigators. That means that you'll want to refrain from providing any information about the case, your recovery or any other information associated with the accident. You should also be choosy about what pictures you share or allow yourself to be tagged in. The more information you put out there, the more room there is for misinterpretation of that information.
Signing Documents Without a Lawyer
In any legal situation, it's a bad idea to sign any paperwork that your lawyer hasn't reviewed. After all, he or she has the expertise to know exactly what that formal language means and what you're agreeing to. After all, sometimes what you think is a simple medical release for your accident-related treatment information actually gives the insurance company access to your entire medical history – which is unnecessary and often irrelevant. Don't give up that signature until your attorney says that it's okay.
Skipping Doctor's Appointments
When you skip doctor's appointments during your treatment, the insurance company may claim that you aren't doing what is necessary to recover properly or you aren't taking responsibility for your treatment. This may negate your settlement simply because you could be causing more damage by not getting the care you need in a timely manner. Make sure you're there for every appointment and you follow your doctor's advice specifically – even if you don't like what you hear.
Your goal should be to recover as quickly and effectively as possible while seeking the financial support that's owed by the responsible individual. For the best results through the process, avoid these errors, work with a team of skilled doctors and retain an experienced accident lawyer who is able to help you present a solid case. Click here to read more.