So you were involved in a rear-end car accident, and it wasn’t your fault.
Now you’re trying to get paid back for the damage to the car and your injuries.
Luckily for you, these sorts of accidents generally aren’t too complicated to deal with legally. Assigning fault is usually pretty straight-forward, as it’s generally going to be the fault of the person who rear-ended the other car.
However, that’s not always the case.
Although it may seem like a relatively simple case, there are still several missteps you can make that could seriously cost you.
If you stay vigilant and avoid some of these 3 common mistakes, it should be smooth sailing.
Mistake #1: Accepting or admitting fault
One of the top mistakes people make in the aftermath of a rear-end collision is accepting fault, even by accident. Depending on the circumstances, even saying “I’m sorry” can be construed as an admission of fault, at least partially.
The insurance company is NOT on your side, and they may try to take advantage of any opportunity to reduce your reward.
Don’t give any kind of recorded statement at the scene. In fact, don’t give a recorded statement at all without first speaking to a lawyer.
Be kind and polite, and make sure everyone is all right. But don’t imply that you’re to blame.
Even if you believe the accident was partially your fault, wait to speak to a lawyer and let the police report or the judge assign fault. Admitting fault will mean less financial compensation at the end.
Mistake #2: Taking the first settlement offer
In simple car accident cases where there’s no disputing the assignment of fault, a lot of insurance companies may try to resolve it quickly with a settlement offer of compensation shortly after the accident itself.
While accepting the offer may seem appealing, as it will let you put the ordeal behind you and start paying for repairs, it’s not always a wise decision.
Some injuries resulting from a car crash might not become evident for days or weeks after, and the related medical expenses can go on even longer. Accepting an initial offer from the insurance company will mean limiting your ability to seek additional compensation for more damages later.
If possible, delay taking the deal until you’re confident you won’t see any more expenses related to the accident.
Mistake #3: Minimizing your damages and injuries
Another common mistake people make that reduces their financial award is unintentionally minimizing their injuries.
If the claims adjuster asks you how you are shortly after the accident and you say you’re doing “fine,” they might end up using that against you if you later ask for significant compensation for medical issues.
Don’t pretend to be okay or downplay the suffering you’re going through because of the accident. While you shouldn’t exaggerate, you should also be thorough in documenting and addressing all of the physical issues you deal with. Talk about each one of them with your doctor and dutifully follow the prescribed treatment.
Insurance companies may look for loopholes and other ways to twist your words and give you less money. Being conscientious to avoid these common mistakes and consulting with an experienced car accident attorney should help get you the financial damages you need to get back on your feet after your accident.