4 Mistakes to Avoid after Your Arizona Car Accident
Want to make the most money on your personal injury settlement? Then you’ll need the strongest case you can get. To manage that, you’ll need to minimize mistakes.
While a good attorney can work around mistakes, it’s even better if you can avoid making them in the first place. Here are four extremely common ones.
1) Saying the wrong things at the scene of the accident.
What you say at the scene of the accident will come back to haunt you, so say as little as possible. You’ll have to give a statement to the police, but only answer the exact question that’s asked. Do not volunteer additional information.
Many people reflexively apologize after a car accident. Try not to do that, because later the defendant will turn that on you as an “admission of fault.”
Another thing you want to avoid saying is, “I’m okay.” Avoid this even if you are clearly and visibly not okay. Again, the defendant will use this against you later. In this case they’ll claim you “weren’t as injured on the day of the accident” as you “are now.” Denying injuries, claiming they’re being faked, or claiming they’re being exaggerated are all things the defendant may try when trying to devalue or dismiss your claim.
Of course, tangible evidence gathered at the scene of the accident can help mitigate these mistakes. You just don’t want to rely on it to do so. Being in the right isn’t enough. You have to be able to demonstrate that you are in the right. Help your attorney do this by controlling your words.
2) Speaking to any insurance company before you’ve spoken to an attorney.
The insurance company may want to talk to you right away because they’re hoping for a few things.
One thing they’re hoping for is that they can get you to say something which devalues your claim or which gives them grounds to deny it. Their adjuster wants to ask you leading and carefully phrased questions to get you to say more than you should, or to get you to say things you shouldn’t.
Another thing they’re hoping to do is to get you to sign a medical release form. They’ll tell you they can’t pay you anything until they do that. In reality, they’re going to get every medical record of yours stretching all the way back to your birth, and they’re going to try to use that to dismiss as many of your injuries as possible as “pre-existing conditions.”
Finally, they may want to provide you with a lowball offer hoping you’ll take it. They already know what they’re offering won’t pay your medical bills or help you replace your lost wages. They hope you’re desperate and pressured and unseasoned. Once you accept money you can’t press another claim or make another settlement. At least let an attorney look at their offer before making any decisions.
Remember, an attorney can file your claim for you and handle all communication with the insurance company. You do not have to talk to them at all.
3) Waiting too long to file your personal injury case.
You have a two year statute of limitations, but there are rarely any advantages to waiting that long. You can file from the day you get injured, so why wouldn’t you? While settlement may have to wait for maximum medical improvement, your right to press a claim doesn’t have to.
The longer you wait, the more evidence tends to disappear. The more witnesses fall out of contact. The defense gets a head start you don’t want to give them. Call an attorney as soon as you are medically capable of doing so.
4) Jumping on social media to talk about the accident.
What you think is harmless venting or just letting people know what happened is, in reality, a gift to the defense. What you say can be used against you. In addition, any photographs or status updates about what you’re doing after the accident can be used against you.
For example, a post about you doing anything fun may be used to show that your injuries “just aren’t that serious.” This could mean the loss of tens of thousands of dollars.
We advise our clients to go silent on social after their accidents.
Been in an auto accident? Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long. Get a free consultation today. Call (480) 581-8801.