Being involved in an auto accident is not an easy experience, especially if you or someone you love suffered injuries. When these accidents are caused by the negligence of another, such as a negligent driver, victims will have the opportunity to file personal injury claims that can allow them to hold the responsible party accountable and secure financial compensation for their damages, including their pain and suffering, lost income, medical expenses, and more.
While victims have the right to compensation when they are harmed by another’s negligence, compensation is never automatically awarded. Additionally, what you say and do during the initial moments after a wreck and in the days and weeks following can have an impact on your ability to file a successful claim.
At Lawton Law Firm, our Mt. Pleasant car accident attorneys have worked with residents throughout South Carolina after they were hurt in preventable wrecks. Because our attorneys focus on working closely with clients, we have accumulated extensive insight into common mistakes made after a crash, as well as what steps victims should be taking to protect themselves and their right to compensation.
Here are five steps you should take after a crash:
- Call the police – While many people may not want to involve law enforcement, calling the police after a crash, if you are able to do so, is an important step in protecting your rights. No matter how small it may seem, calling authorities can help not only ensure that any medical services are provided to injured victims, but also that an officer can collect information from involved parties and witnesses to compile into a police report. This police report can serve as evidence about what happened in your wreck and will become useful should you choose to file a personal injury claim.
- Don’t apologize – After a wreck, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and concerned about the safety of others. Still, it is important to avoid saying “sorry” or apologizing to other involved parties. While saying sorry may be a natural reaction for some, it can severely compromise your right to compensation, as insurance companies can highlight your apology as an admission of guilt. Even if you think you were at fault, simply avoid discussing it; there may be factors at play in your case you do not know about.
- Collect evidence – If you are able to do so safely, collecting information and evidence is important, as it can ensure you have the names and contact information of all involved parties and that there is evidence which can be used in your potential case. Be sure to collect all contact information, insurance information, and driver’s license information from any other drivers involved in the wreck. You can also collect information from witnesses who may have seen what happened. Additionally, taking pictures of the scene of the accident, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries is a smart idea.
- Seek timely medical treatment – Some victims may receive medical attention on the scene or may be transported to hospitals for further care. Whatever the case may be in your crash, you still want to seek a timely follow up or initial appointment with your doctor. Seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after your crash is important to your health, as there may be injuries you are not aware of, or injuries that are more severe than you originally thought. Seeking timely medical attention is also critical to protecting your rights and shielding yourself against insurance companies that will argue that because you waited to see a doctor, you were not really injured, even if you are truly in pain and have been so the whole time.
- Don’t trust the insurance company – After a crash, the other driver’s insurance company will likely contact you. Remember, insurance companies are in business to make money, not pay victims. This means they might try to get you to say things they can use against you, or attempt to get you to quickly settle when you are still unsure about the scope of your injuries and damages. Insurance companies are not on your side, and they want to pay as little as possible by shifting blame away from their policyholders and onto you, or by denying liability entirely. Chances are, when the insurance company contacts you, they will ask you to make a recorded statement of the events of the collision. You can tell them that you would like to consult with an attorney before doing so. When facing off against these corporate giants, an attorney with experience and resources can make the difference.
- Be careful with social media – Sharing experiences through social media may be a customary thing for many people, but you should think twice about what you share regarding your accident. Posting about your recovery, injuries, and any other damages that occurred during the wreck can potentially impact your case for the worse. Think about how insurance adjusters would view a post, and remember that they work diligently to capitalize on your mistakes, especially with what you say or put down in writing.
- Speak to a lawyer – Bringing your case to the attention of a proven lawyer, such as our attorneys at Lawton Law Firm, is one of the most important steps you can take after a crash. By doing so, you can learn more about your rights and whether you have a valid case. Our attorneys can also explain how we can help with all aspects of your case, including conducting investigations into the facts of your crash, and working toward a full and fair recovery of your damages. When you depend on compensation to cover your losses and need to fight back against insurance companies that place profits over people, having an attorney by your side is critical.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car wreck in Mt. Pleasant or any of the surrounding areas of South Carolina, you can be confident about placing your trust in our experienced and proven legal team. Our legal team leverages over 30 years of combined experience, and the expertise of Firm Founder Angus M. Lawton, who is one of a small group of attorneys in the entire state to hold Board Certification from the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
To discuss your case and rights, call (843) 588-5302 for a FREE consultation.