The steps you take after a car accident are crucial to any insurance or legal claim you make following a wreck. Understandably, you may be shaken or distraught after a severe accident but it is important that you avoid making certain mistakes which can harm your personal injury case. This is especially true with insurance companies who are ready to skew your actions and words for their own financial benefit by either denying your claim or undervaluing it.
At Cardone Law Firm, our experienced New Orleans personal injury attorneys take every measure possible to ensure that you have a strong case. You can trust in our dedicated Louisiana car accident lawyers to adequately represent you in litigation and to skillfully work with your insurer to make sure you get the recovery that is rightfully yours.
Following an auto accident in Louisiana, there are a number of mistakes that you are going to want to avoid including:
- Not calling the police.
Failing to call the police means that there can be no police report made. The police report plays a very important role in the insurance claim process and in litigation – if your claim goes that route. The police report is an objective statement that details the accident and notes whether any citations were given to any of the parties involved. If the other driver is uninsured (or underinsured) they may attempt to persuade you out of calling the police but you should do so regardless of how minor the accident is. Make sure to get the names and badge numbers of any officers that arrive on the scene, as well as the report number, which will be needed for later purposes.
- Apologizing to the other driver, insurance adjuster, or police.
An apology to the other driver, police, and especially an insurance adjuster can be misinterpreted as you accepting fault for the car wreck. This can greatly hurt your case. Remember that you do not have to talk or provide any written statements to the other driver’s insurance company. Even when discussing the accident with your own insurer, it is in your best interest to have your attorney provide them the information on your behalf.
- Leaving the scene of the accident.
It is against the law in Louisiana to leave the scene of a car accident. Should the accident cause injury or death, the driver who flees the scene can be charged with a crime. At no time after an accident should you take leave, even if it is a minor accident. Wait until the police have arrived, investigated, and given you permission to go on your way (assuming you have not been severely injured and taken to a hospital).
- Failing to seek medical treatment immediately and failing to attend follow ups.
The shock and adrenaline rush of being in a car accident may numb the pain of some injuries, causing you to believe that you do not need medical attention. This mistake that can greatly weaken an insurance claim and allow the insurer an opportunity to blame any injuries on some other incident. It is in your best interest to seek medical attention immediately after an accident (within 72 hours) so that you can be evaluated by a medical professional.
Another mistake to avoid making is initially seeking medical care but failing to attend follow up appointments, failing to follow your treatment plan, or failing to take the prescribed medications. Failing to meet the requirements of your treatment plan can be seen as an absence of injury by your insurer or jury. Stay committed to your treatment until your doctor signs off that you can stop.
- Signing papers or providing a statement to either your insurance company or the other driver’s.
You are likely to be contacted by both yours and the other driver’s insurance companies promptly after an accident in order to give a statement about the accident. You DO NOT have to provide a statement to the other driver’s insurer regardless of how forceful they may be. On the other hand, you are responsible for cooperating with your insurer, but you should seek legal guidance from a personal injury attorney before giving a statement. At Cardone Law Firm, our dependable lawyers will guide you through the process and even provide the statement on your behalf to ensure that no one’s insurance company tries to take advantage of you.
Additionally, avoid signing any forms or accepting any sort of payment from an insurance company without input from an experienced lawyer. You may unintentionally being signing away your rights for future recovery or ability to file a lawsuit.
- Failing to tell the truth.
You need to be honest with any medical professional that treats you, as well as with your attorney and insurance company. Let your doctor know exactly where you are hurting and if you have any pre-existing conditions. Additionally, you must tell the truth to your insurance company. Consulting with a lawyer prior to giving a statement to your insurer will help to prevent you from hurting the strategy your counsel is trying to establish.
Being honest with the various parties involved with your case is essential as being caught in a lie can greatly hurt your credibility and case in court.
- Mistaking a “get-rich-quick” lawyer for a qualified one.
You may be tempted to hire a lawyer from one of those “quick resolution” commercials. These type of “get-rich-quick” law firms are not interested in providing you personalized care or actually getting you the recovery you deserve. Rather, they are interested in lining their own pockets.
These types of lawyers and firms may promise you a quick settlement, however, the reality is that personal injury cases can take some time to resolve. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who promises you a quick return.
Let the dependable and trustworthy New Orleans personal injury attorneys of Cardone Law Firm fight for you if you’ve been injured in a auto accident.
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury as the result of a negligent driver, our personal injury attorneys in New Orleans are sufficiently trained and experienced to help you get the recovery you deserve