You’ve been in a car accident. It’s the last thing you wanted or expected. While you can’t go back in time, you can act now to protect your health and money.
When you’re in a car accident, your first concern is your health and safety. Your brain kicks in immediately to convince yourself that you’re alright, even if you’re not alright. While you just want to get back to your life, your next moves matter. During this chaotic time it’s easy to make mistakes which can be costly and prolong the road to recovery. Let’s look at the 10 most common mistakes after an accident:
Not Calling the Police
Illinois law requires car accidents to be reported to the police unless no one involved is injured and property damage is less than $1500. Even if the exception is met, having the police respond to the scene is invaluable as they are able to collect evidence that might otherwise go unnoticed. They will also follow up with witnesses and make a report of the scene that could be used in a future case.
Even more if the responding officer(s) find the other party in violation of a traffic law, and give them a ticket, you have begun to form a basis for possible fault.
Not Reading Up on Your Insurance Policy
In order to understand what to expect from our insurance company and to be a better advocate for yourself, it’s important to read your insurance policy. Failure to do so will make negotiations more one sided, in favor of your insurance company.
Waiting to Contact Your Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible to get a claim started. Making sure a claim is filed in a timely fashion ensures a faster resolution.
Per Illinois statute of limitations, a claim must be filed within two years.
Failing To Gather Evidence
You shouldn’t rely solely on the work of the police to build a case. While at the scene you will want to get contact and insurance coverage from everyone involved. After which you should talk with witnesses asking them to explain what they saw. Make sure to take pictures of the accident including:
- Where the vehicles came to rest
- Layout of the intersection or road where the accident occurred
- Damage to all vehicles involved
- Vehicle skid marks
- Relevant traffic or weather conditions
- Road signs
As we discuss in What to Do After a Car Accident you don’t want to make any statement regarding whose fault the accident was. Even an apology may limit your ability to later obtain fair compensation.
Skipping the Doctor
First and foremost a visit to the doctor is advised to ensure any underlying medical events are dealt with. Your health and well-being is very important and even if you feel alright, you should be checked out by a medical professional.
A visit to the doctor will create documentation as to the scope of injuries. This evidence is far more irrefutable than simply claiming you got hurt without medical proof.
Waiting Too Long to Contact a Car Accident Attorney
When you have been injured in a car accident you have a limited time to file a claim. This time limit is not a magic number you learn in Driver’s Ed. The amount of time to file varies depending on your type of injuries and the jurisdiction in which you file a claim.
Because of this, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. If you’re not visibly injured, resist the urge to go home and attempt to get on with your life. Car accident injuries often don’t immediately present themselves. Particularly back and spine injuries can show up later and be debilitating.
Visit the doctor right away for a complete exam. Medical professionals can assess you for injuries that you may not have noticed, or the rush of adrenaline masks.
Sending Other Party’s Insurance Company Your Medical Bills
Insurance companies can sit on those bills and let them go to a collection agency causing you increased financial stress.
Also, there may be better insurance coverage available for you to use. You have rights and benefits available to you that insurance companies will not explain or disclose. Working with a lawyer ensures you will receive expert advice about your coverage and financial benefits. You don’t need to suffer further consequences for someone else’s actions.
Giving Doctor and Hospital the names of your car insurance company and other party’s car insurance company
You may want to give medical professionals and hospital administrators any and all information. But resist this urge. Consult with a motor vehicle accident attorney first and don’t give out insurance information until you’re directed to do so. Handling these transactions by yourself will cost you more money.
The reasons are complicated. And while medical providers are usually acting in your best interest, they are not trained in personal injury law. You have to ensure medical providers are submitting claims promptly and properly and a personal injury lawyer will handle this role for you.
Going About a Claim Without a Car Accident Lawyer
You need your energy for healing and recovery, not paperwork and worry. Insurance companies may take advantage of your physical and mental state and offer to settle quickly. This is usually not in your best interest. Hiring a lawyer will increase your chances of getting a fair settlement.
The attorneys at Ginzkey & Molchin, LLC are trained and ready to support you after a car accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in or near Bloomington, Illinois, reach out TODAY, and avoid making mistakes that will cost you more.
What our Clients are Saying
Mr. Molchin took care of my case involving an auto accident. This was the first experience I’ve had with lawyers and he and the staff went above and beyond my expectations ensuring my claim was settled, keeping me updated along the way. I was more than impressed with the work performed by Ginzkey & Molchin, LLC.
I was hit broadside by a pickup truck while sitting at a stop sign in my Prius. Jim Ginzkey turned the case over to Chase Molchin. Chase found that the other driver and I both had State Farm Insurance. While that presents issues for some attorneys, Chase stood his ground. I had a pre existing injury from fall from a ladder. The injury was made much worse from the impact. Chase did a thorough and exhaustive effort in his representation. He was not only able to get the total amount of his coverage limit but then went after my under insured portion of my policy and was awarded a settlement which was a nice sum which was over and above the original settlement. I would recommend Chase and Jim to anyone injured in a car accident that was not your fault. Great job and thank you for all the hard work!!
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