Car accident lawsuits appear straightforward to those who are unfamiliar with the litigation process — and in some cases, naturally, the “legal” issues are relatively straightforward. What many plaintiffs do not realize, however, is the various ways in which one’s injury claims can be undermined and weakened by one’s actions in the wake of an accident. Seemingly minor decisions can have disastrous consequences.
We’ve tallied up five mistakes commonly made after a car accident. If you’ve been in a car accident and are intending to pursue a claim for damages, contact a skilled Phoenix car accident attorney and be careful to avoid making these mistakes!
1) Failing to Secure Medical Care
Securing timely and adequate medical care is critical. If you have been injured, you should actively seek out medical care necessary to treat whatever symptoms you have. Even if you are not expressing any symptoms, you should make an appointment with a physician and have diagnostic tests performed. In some cases, the injury may be pernicious and undetectable except with advanced medical equipment.
Failure to secure medical care in a timely manner could weaken your claim and lead to difficulties, as the defendant may argue that they are not responsible for your injuries (i.e., that the injuries developed due to your delay), and that your delay is proof that any injuries they caused were not serious.
2) Waiting to Seek the Assistance of a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney
Seeking the assistance of a qualified attorney is not only important for bringing an action before the statute of limitations deadline, but also for obtaining the comprehensive guidance necessary to pursue your claim in the wake of an accident. Your car accident attorney will assist with a variety of matters, from evidence gathering to witness identification to sending demand letters and filing claims.
3) Making Statements That Undermine Your Claims
Statements that you make to other people — such as the defendant, witnesses, and police officers —at the scene of the car accident, and afterwards, can undermine your legal claims and create complications down the line.
Oftentimes, one’s objective appraisal of a situation is influenced by the adrenaline and chaos of an accident. At the time of an accident, for example, you may be under the wrong impression that you made a mistake while driving that contributed to the accident. As such, you might apologize to the defendant and explain your “mistake,” when in fact you did nothing of the sort. Such a statement could have a negative impact on your ability to successfully litigate your claims.
4) Failing to Identify Witnesses
Eyewitness testimony is extraordinarily valuable in the car accident context, as it can provide the clarity necessary to succeed when there are conflicting narratives. If you are not in need of emergency medical care after an accident (and can take some time at the accident scene to speak to bystanders), it’s worth identifying possible eyewitnesses and taking down their contact information so that you can consult them later for supportive testimony. Failure to do so at the scene of the accident could make it more difficult to identify and secure the testimony of reliable eyewitnesses.
5) Negotiating Directly With an Insurer
Insurers are quite clever about minimizing and avoiding a payout, and one of their tactics is to engage with plaintiffs directly (before they can consult with an attorney). Do not speak with an insurer until and unless you have consulted a qualified Phoenix car accident attorney about the matter. Insurers use direct conversations to pry for information and statements that they can use to justify the denial of your insurance claim later on. Further, they may attempt to push you towards an unfavorable resolution at an emotionally sensitive and frustrating moment, before you have had the chance to consider all your options.
Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free Consultation
Have you been injured in a car accident? Depending on the circumstances, you may have an actionable claim for damages under Arizona law.
Successfully pursuing a car accident claim is quite a challenge, but an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney can provide the assistance you need to do so while maximizing the available damages. Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we have nearly seven decades of combined experience working relentlessly on behalf of injured car accident plaintiffs, with significant results gained through trial litigation and settlement.
If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we can help advance your interests, send us a case evaluation form through our website. Consultation is free and confidential.