In Texas, getting behind the wheel represents the independence and freedom to get where you need to go. For some drivers, however, getting behind the wheel leads to a life-changing accident.
In fact, an estimated 2 million drivers in the US sustain permanent injuries as the result of a car accident each year. If you’re one of them, it may be time to file a car accident claim.
Car accident claims require expertise and preparedness. Without these things, you may find yourself making common and avoidable car accident claim mistakes.
Read on as we discuss seven of the most common car accident claim mistakes we see and how to avoid them.
1. Not Getting Documentation of the Scene
In the aftermath of a car accident, especially one that has caused injuries, it’s easy to overlook the importance of documentation. However, your first step should be, without fail, to call the police. The police will produce a report of the incident, which you can use when compiling the evidence to back your claim.
If possible, make sure that you also take or receive photos and videos of the accident scene. You will want to capture images of the cars involved from different angles, as well as any location identifying information like nearby street signs and other signage.
It is not impossible to file a claim with this documentation. However, it will be much harder to prove who was at fault without it.
2. Not Going to the Doctor
It’s not uncommon for victims of car accidents to assume they don’t need medical attention right away. They may not have any visible injuries, like bruises or cuts. They are also likely experiencing shock, which can provide temporary protection from pain signals.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive an accurate diagnosis of any injuries you’ve sustained. This is crucial to both the outcome of your health and the outcome of your claim. Remember, the primary source of financial compensation in a car accident claim covers expenses related to your car accident injury.
3. Waiting Too Long to File Your Claim
If you’ve never had to file a claim before, you may not realize that there is a claim filing deadline. This is because of something called the statute of limitations, which limits the amount of time a plaintiff has to open up a case against a defendant.
In the state of Texas, you have two years to file your car accident claim. The clock starts ticking at the moment of the accident unless you were not reasonably aware of the resulting injuries. If the latter applies, the clock starts ticking the moment you become aware of the resulting injuries.
4. Filing a Claim Without a Car Accident Lawyer
Personal injury claims like car accident claims are filed in civil court, rather than criminal court. The vast majority of personal injury claims never make it to the courtroom, at all. Does that mean that it’s not important to get a lawyer to represent your case?
No. It may seem like the stakes are lower and the laws surrounding a personal injury claim are less severe, but the reality is that it still requires a deep understanding of these types of claims to win one. The defense will almost surely have legal representation provided by their insurance provider, and you will need your own car accident lawyer to improve your odds of securing compensation.
5. Failing to Collect Proper Evidence
As long as you’re working with a strong car accident lawyer, you shouldn’t have to worry about making this mistake. However, failing to collect the proper car accident claim documents and evidence is a guaranteed way to lose your claim, so it’s important to discuss.
We’ve already mentioned the types of evidence you will want to produce from the accident, itself. In addition, you will need to produce evidence of your injuries, your medical bills, and any other sources of financial burden. This can include damage to your car, lost income, and additional emotional or mental damages that you have sustained.
6. Talking to the Defense Unrepresented
Once you have hired a car accident lawyer, make use of them. They are there to provide you with legal guidance every step of the way, and that means that they should be involved in all pre-settlement discussions of the claim.
If the defense reaches out to you, don’t respond without consulting your lawyer. If they ask for any information, like your medical records or other pieces of evidence you have compiled, talk to your lawyer before sending them anything. The last thing you want is to say or do something that could hurt your chances of receiving a full settlement.
7. Accepting the First Offer You Get
If you and the other driver have exchanged information after a car accident, you are bound to hear from the other driver’s insurance company. If it’s already clear that the other driver caused the accident, their insurance company may offer you money before you’ve filed a claim.
Resist the urge to take an early offer. It can seem tempting to get money now rather than later, but by accepting an early offer, you are forgoing your right to file for the compensation you may need to cover things like medical bills and lost income.
We’ll Help You to Avoid These Car Accident Claim Mistakes
Driving is a privilege that many Texans enjoy. While driving does provide us with independence, it also poses a serious risk to our health and well-being. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Texas, we’ll prevent you from making common car accident claim mistakes.
To get started, contact us and tell us about your case. We’ll provide you with a free case evaluation so that you can make the most informed decision about your next steps.