From past experiences, we have seen some good examples of what mistakes you should avoid after you have been in a car wreck.
- Neglecting to take pictures. You need to take pictures of the scene, your car, and the other car or cars from different directions. You may also want to take pictures of the other driver's license plate, insurance card, and email them to yourself. If there are any skid marks on the road you may want to try to take pictures of those as well.
- Failing to call the police. Despite what the other driver says you need to call the police so that they can file a report. Obtain or have your attorney obtain that police report as it is a key official record of the accident that may be useful to help you get the compensation you deserve and establish fault (but please remember that the police make mistakes too and they do not determine civil liability for a car accident). Police reports also may list witnesses that may be helpful for you down the road.
- Apologizing when you shouldn't have.If it wasn't your fault, do not say you're sorry. Even if it may have been your fault, don't say anything about fault as you may not know exactly how the wreck happened and who was truly at fault. These sorts of statements against your interest may undermine your case, as an apology immediately after an accident will most certainly be used against you by the other driver or his or her insurance company.
- Posting pictures on social media. Just don't - it looks bad. If your case ever gets to trial the other lawyer may question why you were posting pictures to your friends when the event was such a traumatic experience. This may hurt your credibility.
- Stretching the truth. The one rule we always tell our clients. Never lie under oath or to us. People can see through it. Don't lie to anyone as if the other side finds a whole in your story (even a non-relevant detail), they will take advantage and use it to discredit the truth of the story.
- Failing to go to the doctor. If you feel like you are off you need to see a doctor. The insurance company or other side will use against you the fact that you did not see a doctor immediately and you're exaggerating your injuries despite the fact that a lot of car wreck related injuries have some delayed onset.
- Failing to exchange information with witnesses. You may need people who witnessed the accident to testify or give a statement on your behalf. You need to be able to contact these people later so they can tell the story. You will need their contact information so that you or your attorney can get a statement from them.
- Talking to the other party's insurance adjuster.This is a big mistake. Insurance adjusters want you to make a statement that is against your interest that they can use as leverage to devalue your case. You may not even know that what you are saying could hurt your case. They will be your best friend and encourage you not to hire an attorney and that they will take care of you. Do not make a statement or talk to them!
- Settling your case too early.Some injuries do not manifest themselves until much later after an accident, or you simply may not appreciate the seriousness of an injury. Why settle your case when you do not know the full extent of your damages? We have multiple examples where clients were rewarded with significantly higher settlements simply by exercising some patience in the diagnosis and treatment processes, and being thorough with their doctors to discover serious injuries that require diagnostic imaging to see. If you're worried about expenses, you have options. For example, some doctors are willing to treat on a lien basis (meaning they'll do it knowing you'll pay them when your case is settled).
How Can An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Help?
Foster Wallace, LLC takes all car accident injury cases on a contingency fee basis, allowing victims and family members throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area to get the legal help they need without adding to their financial burden. If you or someone you love was injured in a crash, contact our office today to set up your free initial consultation.