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Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

If you’ve never been in a car crash before, you might not know how the process works, and you could make mistakes that hurt your claim. Knowing some common mistakes made by accident victims could help you protect your claim and get you the compensation you need to recover. 

1. Failing to Call the Police to Report the Accident

After your car accident, you must contact the local police to report it. When law enforcement arrives, they will conduct their own investigation and create a report of the accident. This report is key evidence and could help determine who was at fault. 

Not only does contacting the police benefit your claim, but it helps you stay out of legal trouble. For example, New Mexico law requires those involved in accidents resulting in severe injury or death to report the car crash to local authorities.   

2. Giving Too Much Information to the Insurance Company

You should always know that insurance companies are more concerned with making a profit than your overall well-being. To them, paying out on your claim always hurts their bottom line. So, the at-fault party’s insurer will do whatever it takes to avoid compensating you for your damages. 

That said, you should expect a call from the at-fault party’s insurer in the days following your accident. The insurance company’s goal during this call is to get you to provide a statement. They may appear to be acting in good faith, but, they are really looking for you to give them information that could limit their liability. A big mistake many accident victims make is providing too much information to the insurance company. 

You are under no obligation to provide them with a statement. It would be wise for you to direct them to your attorney so they can address any questions or concerns they might have. 

3. Avoiding Medical Treatment or Skipping Doctor’s Appointments

Following a car accident, the surge of adrenaline may keep you from noticing any injuries you may have. However, as the adrenaline subsides in the hours or days afterward, you may begin to feel the true extent of your injuries.

Even though seeking medical care is crucial, the at-fault party’s insurer might argue that if your injuries were genuinely severe, you would have sought immediate treatment. It's important to get a thorough medical evaluation after an accident. Additionally, attending all follow-up appointments is essential to prevent signaling to insurance companies that your injuries are not serious.

4. Unintentionally Making Statements that Admit Fault 

Sometimes, fault is unclear, and you might feel like you contributed to the accident somehow. This might not always be the case. That’s why you should avoid speaking with the other driver about the details of the crash. 

Your knee-jerk reaction might be to rush over to the other car and say, “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t even see you.” These seemingly minor statements could be used against you. After your accident, call 911 and wait until they arrive to make any statements. 

5. Signing the Insurance Company’s Release Form

After your car accident, the other driver’s insurance company might try to offer you a quick settlement that essentially gets them off the hook. Accepting the insurance company’s offer and signing the release form prevents you from pursuing further compensation or filing a claim. 

However, many individuals sign these release forms because they don’t understand the extent of the compensation they can recover. You should consider all the ways your injuries will impact your life now and in the future. You might have to get a new job, potentially for less pay. You should also consider non-monetary damages like mental suffering and physical pain. Your attorney could evaluate your damages and fight for a settlement that covers all your expenses. 

6. Posting About Your Accident On Social Media

Another mistake accident victims make after an accident is posting about their car crashes on social media. You might feel compelled to let your friends and family know what happened and that you’re okay. 

However, similar to point number four, posting pictures of yourself with captions that say, “I’m okay” or “I feel fine” could be used against you. Insurance companies will use this as evidence to limit their liability, claiming that you’re not as hurt as you say you are.

7. Neglecting to Hire a Lawyer to File a Claim

You may feel like you can handle your accident alone and don’t need an attorney. However, the benefits of a car accident attorney cannot be understated. They have resources at their disposal to help you recover the max for your injuries. 

They will conduct their own investigation and gather the evidence you need to strengthen your claim. They can also recruit expert witnesses like accident reconstructionists who recreate the accident to determine fault. Furthermore, a personal injury attorney works on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t owe them anything unless they win your claim. 

Injured in a Car Accident? Call the Law Giant

Insurance companies are relentless, and the claims process is complex. If you’re uninformed, you could make several mistakes that hurt your claim. Our New Mexico personal injury lawyers know the common mistakes people make and could help inform you of your rights at every phase of the claims process.