If you were recently hurt in a car crash, it is important to understand that the steps you take next could significantly impact the outcome of your claim. Some accident victims unknowingly jeopardize their chances of recovering compensation simply because they make one wrong move. For this reason, it is imperative that you seek the guidance of a Chicago car accident lawyer from Duncan Law Group before making any sort of statement to the other party’s insurance company. In doing so, you can ensure that your rights will be protected from the outset of your case. Contact our firm today to learn more!
#1: Do not ever leave the scene of a car accident.
Driving away from an accident (even a minor collision) can result in a criminal, “hit-and-run” charge. If you were involved in a car accident, stay at the scene of the collision until emergency services arrive and it is appropriate for you to leave.
#2: Do not forget to contact the police.
If you were involved in a car accident, you are legally obligated to contact law enforcement. Failing to call the police can result in a criminal charge as well.
#3: Do not say anything that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt.
One of the most common mistakes that people will make is discussing the accident with the other driver and, inadvertently, admitting guilt. Even a simple “I’m sorry” could be taken as an admission of guilt – which may serve to strengthen the other party’s case. Similarly, the other driver may try to provoke you by initiating an argument. It would be in your best interest to avoid engaging in a conversation about the accident until you have spoken to an attorney.
#4: Do not give a statement to the other party’s insurance company.
You are not required to give a statement to the other party’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators, which means that they know how to manipulate you into saying things that could help their client’s case. They may contact you at home and ask you to provide a recorded statement, but it is your right to decline. You should direct them to either your lawyer or your own insurance company if they require further information.
#5: Do not delay in seeking necessary medical treatment.
Seeking medical treatment should be a top priority after a car accident – even if your injuries don’t appear to be that serious. Waiting to see a doctor could not only affect your health, but it could also have a negative impact on your personal injury claim. The insurance company may try to minimize your damages by showing that you really aren’t as injured as you have claimed to be, so it is important that you have medical documentation to substantiate your case.
#6: Do not accept an unfair settlement offer from the insurance company.
Insurance companies will employ a wide range of tactics in an effort to reduce, delay or flat-out deny your claim. For this reason, it is imperative that you let a car accident attorney in Chicago handle the negotiations. The insurance company knows that you may be experiencing financial difficulties, so they will drag out your case for as long as possible in the hope that you will accept an unfair settlement offer. Do not settle without first speaking to a lawyer!
#7: Do not give up your right to hire legal representation.
One of the most important steps that you can take after an accident is to hire legal counsel. The insurance company will be anxious to settle your claim before you have the chance, but this is not something that you should forego. Statistics show that accident victims are typically able to recover three times more money when they hire an attorney – compared to those who do not – so do not wait any longer to set up a free consultation with Duncan Law Group.