Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
According to statistics from the Tennessee Traffic Crash Data, there were 185,602 total traffic accidents statewide in 2022. Being involved in an auto accident can be an overwhelming and unsettling experience. Such an unfortunate incident can result in minor or severe injuries, hospitalization, vehicle damages, reduced productivity, or sometimes death. If you’re in such a situation, it may be beneficial to consult with a dedicated Tennessee personal injury attorney to know what to do or avoid.
At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, our attorneys have devoted their careers to handling personal injury cases and advocating for the best interests of car accident victims. Our trusted legal team can examine every aspect of your unique situation and explore your options to seek damages. In addition, we can enlighten you about the next steps to take and potential mistakes to avoid to ensure a favorable outcome in your claims. Our firm proudly serves clients across Knoxville, Maryville, Farragut, Loudon, Union, Blount, Anderson, Oak Ridge, and Clinton, Tennessee.
Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
If you were involved in a car accident, here are some important mistakes to avoid:
Not seeking medical help right away
After an accident, it is important that you seek immediate medical help for both personal and legal reasons. Getting prompt medical treatment is crucial for your health and safety. The doctor can also detect hidden injuries and recommend the necessary treatments. Conversely, delaying or not seeking medical help can result in possible issues when seeking damages. The insurer can use this as an excuse to deny or undervalue your claims.
Never admit guilt or apologize after a traffic crash. If you apologize, the other party may presume that you’re admitting guilt and taking responsibility for the incident. Also, the insurance carrier can use this as proof that you’re at fault for the crash and may undervalue or deny your claims. Similarly, the other driver can commence legal action or file a lawsuit against you. Rather than apologizing, you should only give the police a detailed explanation of how the incident occurred.
Not calling the police
Tennessee laws require drivers involved in an accident to notify the nearest law enforcement agency or file a report if it results in a personal injury, death of a person, or over $50 in property damages. If you fail to call the police to the accident scene or file a report, you may be unable to get a police report and other vital evidence required for your accident claims.
Not taking the time to gather evidence/take pictures
Gather as much evidence as possible after the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene and damage to your vehicle at different angles. Collect and document the police report, witness testimonies, and statements. Gather video footage from nearby surveillance cameras. Also, document your medical records and your personal account of how the accident occurred while it is still fresh in your memory.
Waiting too long to file a claim/lawsuit
Do not unnecessarily delay before filing your injury claims or lawsuit. The statute of limitations (maximum time limit) for filing auto accident claims in Tennessee is one year from when the accident or injury occurred. You need to file your claim immediately to avoid forgetting relevant information, misplacing important documentation, and missing the filing deadline.
Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company
Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company or claims adjuster is never a wise move. The insurance adjuster can interpret your statements differently, ask contradictory questions to create inconsistencies in your responses, or even take your words out of context. In addition, they can use your statements against you during negotiations, in court, or to devalue or deny your claims. Always remember, they’re more concerned about making money and won’t protect your best interests.
Accepting the first offer from your insurer
Do not accept the first offer from the insurance carrier. It is often absurd and may not cover all your medical costs, damages, and losses. Rather, wait until you have reached MMI or fully recovered. Your attorney will evaluate the magnitude of your injuries, determine the actual value of your claims, and seek to recover the maximum available financial compensation.
Not hiring a personal injury attorney
Lastly, always hire a personal injury lawyer to help file your claims. Your legal counsel can review every detail of your unique situation, estimate case value, help file your claims, and seek to prove fault. Also, your attorney can fight vigorously for your rights, handle all negotiations and communication with the insurance company, and help you seek your deserved financial justice.
Make Informed Legal Decisions
Getting detailed guidance and skilled representation after an accident is imperative to navigate crucial decisions and avoid costly mistakes in your claims. Contact us at the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed today to schedule a simple case assessment with experienced car accident lawyers. Our reliable team can guide you through the complicated procedures involved in filing claims and seeking damages. We proudly serve auto accident victims and their families across Knoxville, Maryville, Farragut, Loudon, Union, Blount, Anderson, Oak Ridge, and Clinton, Tennessee.