There are many potential avenues for recovering compensation after a car accident. Besides filing a claim against your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, you may also be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. If you intend to bring a third-party claim, you will need strong evidence to prove fault and damages.
Even if liability seems obvious, there are steps you must take over the days and weeks that follow your collision to contribute to the strength of your claim. There are also certain missteps that you should avoid. Committing even a minor error early in the proceedings could end up jeopardizing your entire case.
Let’s examine five common mistakes you must avoid if you were involved in a car accident:
- Apologizing at the Scene
Most people have the urge to say, “I’m sorry” when they see someone in distress; however, doing so at the scene of an accident could be interpreted as an admission of fault. Even if you believe that you were at fault for the crash, you should avoid admitting fault because you might not understand the laws that apply to your case. If it turns out that the other driver was in fact liable but the police report says that you admitted fault, this could jeopardize your case.
- Failing to Undergo a Medical Evaluation
You have the right to refuse medical care, and you may feel inclined to do so if someone else appears to have been seriously injured. Even if you did not sustain life-threatening injuries, it is essential that you seek medical care after leaving the scene. When accident victims postpone treatment, the opposing party can argue that their own negligence contributed to the severity of their injuries.
- Forgetting to Gather Essential Information at the Scene
You should gather the following information at the scene so your attorney can use it during investigations:
- The liable party’s name, driver’s license number, and insurance information;
- The names and contact information of any other motorists or passengers involved;
- The names and contact information of any eyewitnesses; and
- The names and badge numbers of the responding officers.
- Calling the Insurance Company Before Talking to a Car Accident Lawyer
It is wise to let your attorney handle all correspondence with the insurance company. Whether you only end up seeking compensation from your own provider or you decide to file a third-party claim, the only ally you can count on to protect your best interests is your lawyer.
- Not Reporting the Accident
In the state of Minnesota, motorists must report all collisions that result in injury, death, or at least $1,000 in property damage. If police respond to the scene, they will typically file this report for you; however, it is wise to follow up for two reasons: First, failing to report an accident within 10 days of occurrence is considered a misdemeanor. Second, the report will serve as the foundation on which the insurance company will process the claim.
Discuss Your Case with a St. Cloud Car Accident Attorney Today!
The St. Cloud personal injury lawyers at Bradshaw & Bryant have the knowledge, resources, and determination to find success in court. If you turn to us from day one, we can help you avoid making costly mistakes like those listed above, which might harm your chance of recovering the compensation you deserve. Call 320-259-5414 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer in St. Cloud.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.