Car crashes are complicated, especially in states like Texas that use the comparative negligence system to distribute fault. When your recovery and your health are on the line, you can’t afford to make mistakes that could shift your assigned fault and make it harder to earn the settlement you’re entitled to.
To help drivers avoid some of the most common car crash pitfalls, we’ve put together our top car crash dos and don’ts!
1. Get the Right Information
When you were in driver’s ed, you were probably told to exchange information if you’re ever in a crash. The problem is that many drivers don’t know what that entails and, for that reason don’t get all the information they need to make a successful claim. Here’s a brief overview of everything you should get from the other driver.
Insurance Exchange Checklist:
- Driver’s License Number
- Insurance Carrier
- Policy Number
- Phone Number and Email Address
- License Plate Number
- Pictures of Both Vehicles on Each Side.
While exchanging information, you might ask that the other driver text you a picture of their cards. Not only will this make it easier to copy their information, but it will instantly verify their identity and ensure your attorney has a way to contact them again in the future.
2. Get a Police Report
Regardless of the severity of the crash, you should call for a police officer to manage traffic at the scene and write a traffic accident report.
This report is one of the most vital pieces of information you can have as it is an unbiased, publicly available document that surveys the damages and the scene of the crash while recording information from both drivers. Additionally, a police report may include statements from witnesses and other bystanders that could be invaluable in determining who was responsible for the crash.
Most importantly, a police report demonstrates to the insurance company that your damages and injuries were the direct result of the crash.
3. Go to the Doctor
As soon as you have a police report, you should go to either the doctor’s office or the hospital, depending on the severity of your injuries. Not only can the doctor identify your injuries and establish a treatment plan, but they will provide documentation.
Medical documentation is extremely important because it ties your injuries to the police report. The sooner you have this documentation, the better. If you wait more than a few days to see a doctor, the insurance company might argue that your injuries are unrelated to the crash.
1. Don’t Provide a Recorded Statment
When you call to report the crash to your insurance company, remember to stick to the facts and only provide the other driver’s information. The more you say, the greater the chances the insurance company will use your words against you. If you hear any indication that the call may be recorded, be especially cautious. Once the insurance company has a recording of you talking about the crash, they will pick through your word choice and do anything they can to undermine your claim.
Remember that you have no obligation to provide a recorded statement, and doing so will almost always hurt your case. For that reason, it’s wise to say as little as possible, quickly end the call and leave the negotiating to your attorney.
2. Don’t Post on Social Media
Never post on social media during an open car crash case. Once you post about the crash on social media, the insurance company can pursue a subpoena, opening up your entire account. That means they’ll go through your private messages and comments in private groups to find any indication that either you caused the crash or that your injuries may not be as severe as you claim.
3. Don’t Negotiate By Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes people make after a crash is accepting the first offer from the insurance company just so they can move forward as quickly as possible. The problem is that the insurance company almost always offers significantly less than you need to cover your current and future medical bills and also replace your damaged property.
When you’re involved in a car crash, it’s usually best to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to handle the case on your behalf. Your attorney will handle the paperwork, make the tough phone calls, and fight to help you earn the full recovery you’re entitled to under the law!
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a car crash crash, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Amarillo car accident attorney from Wood Law Firm LLP, please send us an email or call (806) 304-0447.