What Should Someone Not Do When They Have Been In An Auto Accident?
Someone who has been in an auto accident should not give any written or recorded statements to the insurance company and they should never settle their claim without knowing the full extent and value of their damages.
Not giving statements to insurance companies is important because adjusters usually call right after an accident, and the victim may not know everything that’s wrong with them immediately after the accident. They might have some head or back pain at the time they make their recorded sworn statement, but then two to three days later, their medical problems get a lot worse, and the insurance company might refuse further medical care because of their recorded statement. They may also find it difficult or impossible to be adequately compensated for all of their injuries because of that recorded sworn statement.
Another reason to not give a statement to insurance adjusters is because they may give details about the accident itself that may not match other statements made by them or other people, and which could be used against them later. Statements should absolutely never be given.
Sometimes, an insurance company may even harass the person right after the accident and ask them to sign a release for a small amount of money, and they should always refuse that offer. No one can possibly know the extent of their injuries or damages immediately after an accident, and once you accept that money and sign a release, you have signed away your right to sue them and recover anything above whatever they hand you, whether it’s $500 or $2000. No one should ever sign any documentation for an insurance carrier without properly understanding the ramifications.
Beginning at the time of the accident, victims should try to get pictures of everything they can, including the accident scene and the damage to all vehicles. Pictures are very important and can make a huge difference in an auto accident case, especially if the damage to the car was significant, such as if it was crushed, or the wheels were turned sideways or popped off, or the Jaws of Life had to be used to rip the roof off. Pictures can also depict weather conditions, and where the vehicles were positioned after the accident, all of which can help the accident reconstructionist recreate how the accident happened.
People should also collect the addresses and phone numbers of possible witnesses and document their injuries. In short, they should collect every bit of evidence necessary to prosecute their claim. It’s also important to get medical care within 14 days of the accident, so as to not lose their no-fault benefits in the State of Florida, which could mean up to $10,000 worth of benefits lost.
And of course, it’s very important to contact an attorney experienced in personal injury law as soon as possible after the accident in order to avoid common mistakes. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld to get the representation you deserve.