What you do (or don’t do) after being injured in a car, truck, or other accident is extremely important to making sure you receive the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured in a car accident or truck crash, make sure you don’t make these car accident mistakes. Avoiding these common mistakes can help maximize your recovery.
Mistake No. 1: Failing to Get Medical Attention
As I’ve written before, it is extremely important to obtain medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident or crash. Of course, this is obvious if you’ve suffered an apparent, serious injury like a broken bone or if you’ve lost consciousness at any time, etc. However, it’s not so obvious if your injuries are not so apparent. If you think you’ve only been “banged up” or “only” suffered a bit of whiplash, it is still vitally important that you seek medical attention as soon as reasonably possible.
Why? First, many car accident injuries are not immediately apparent and the full extent of an injury might not present itself until hours or even days or weeks later. What you thought was just a post-accident headache could actually be a serious concussion or a brain bleed requiring immediate medical attention. Even if it’s just for peace of mind, make sure you get checked out as soon as possible after a car accident. Second, whether or not you seek medical attention after an accident can greatly impact your car accident case. Medical records are compelling evidence as to the extent and gravity of your injuries. Waiting to obtain medical attention can raise unfair questions as to how serious your injuries are or whether the accident is the cause of your injuries. Slam the door shut to these questions by seeking medical attention as soon as possible after a car or truck accident.
Mistake No. 2: Talking to the Insurance Company
As I’ve also written before, when talking to an insurance company, what you do say can and will be used against you. What do I mean by that? After an accident or crash, the insurance companies of all involved will seek to talk to all involved and obtain written or recorded statements. They may even say that they’re just trying to hear “your story.” The truth of the matter is that the insurance company’s goal is to avoid paying on car accident claims or limit how much they have to pay on car accident claims. To the extent they can, they will use your own words against you. What may seem like a harmless statement to you can be picked apart and twisted to make it seem like something else entirely. This is true no matter how innocent you may be in the car accident. Don’t fall into this trap. Protect yourself by hiring a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer (see Mistake No. 4, below).
Mistake No. 3: Accepting a Lowball Settlement Offer
Unless you’ve worked in the car insurance industry for many years (and even if you have), it’s virtually impossible to know how much you are entitled to for your car accident injures. Again, insurance companies seek to pay out as little as possible on automobile claims. That means they will often present those injured in car accidents or crashes with lowball, pennies-on-the-dollar offers. They know how to negotiate and know that people injured in car accidents are often overwhelmed and need money as soon as possible to get back on their feet.
You may be injured and out of work, without a car, with medical bills piling up, and the insurance company uses this to their advantage. Knowing how much you are entitled to is vital to evaluating an insurance company’s offer. It’s a negotiation, and it takes a skilled personal injury lawyer to negotiate on your behalf if you want the compensation you deserve. There’s a reason why people hate buying cars. It’s the negotiation and inability to know whether you’re truly receiving a good deal or not. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, take the burden off of your shoulders and seek the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Mistake No. 4: Settling Your Case without Completing Treatment
If you settle your car accident case without completing your medical treatment, it could cost you greatly. A settlement is a settlement—the matter is fully, finally, and completely resolved. Thus, if you settle your car accident claim and incur medical expenses after, you likely won’t be able to obtain compensation for those expenses. Let’s say you’re nearing completion of physical therapy for your shoulder injury. Everything feels good, you feel comfortable settling at this point, and do so. However, when you go to your follow up appointment with your doctor, he says that you will need surgery. While your shoulder feels fine, it doesn’t have the range of motion it should and never will without surgery. If you’ve already settled at that point, you’ll very, very likely have to pay for that surgery out of pocket. Again, an experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyer will know when it is “safe” to settle your automobile claim.
Mistake No. 5: Not Hiring a Knowledgeable and Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Putting personal biases aside, not hiring a knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney is perhaps the biggest of the car accident mistakes a person injured in an accident can make. Some people believe that they will have to pay a retainer and an hourly fee to hire a car accident lawyer. The truth is, most personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee. A contingency fee is simply a percentage of the recovery, whether through settlement of the case or judgment at trial. The benefits of a contingency fee are clear—a car accident victim pays no upfront fees or out of pocket expenses, and the personal injury lawyer only receives a fee if the case is settled or a recovery is made at trial. In addition, the car accident attorneys at GKT provide free consultations. You pay nothing to talk to us about your situation. Avoid the car accident mistakes for free and contact our office today at (304) 845-9750.
While most people know that hiring a personal injury attorney to handle their automobile claim is a smart decision, some people don’t know the importance of hiring a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer. Any car accident lawyer simply won’t do. You want a personal injury lawyer who has the experience and knowledge to maximize the compensation due to you. Some questions you might want to consider asking a prospective car accident lawyer:
- How many years have you been a car accident lawyer?
- How many car accident cases have you handled in your career?
- How many car accident cases have you handled in the city or county where the accident occurred?
- Do you have experience dealing with the specific insurance companies involved in the case?
- Have you handled any car accident cases with clients that have injuries similar to mine?
The Car Accident Attorneys at GKT Can Help You
The questions to these answers and more will help you determine whether you have the right car accident lawyer for you and your case. GKT has been representing those injured in car, truck, and other accidents in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania for over 40 years. If you’ve been injured in a car accident or crash in the Ohio Valley, contact our car accident attorneys for a free consultation and avoid making common car accident mistakes. Our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers and representatives are available 24/7 and will travel to meet you if needed. Call GKT at (304) 845-9750 or live chat 24/7 at GKT.com. Make sure you receive the compensation you deserve—contact GKT today!