What Mistakes Should I Avoid After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in New Orleans that was caused by another driver, Louisiana state law gives you the right to seek compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. This can include current and ongoing medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
It’s important to protect your rights after you’ve been injured in a car accident. What you do immediately following an accident will have a big impact on the total compensation you will be able to collect for your damages. It’s important to avoid the mistakes that could prevent you from obtaining the maximum compensation for your injuries after a New Orleans car accident.
Mistake #1: Leaving the Scene of the Accident.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a big mistake in more ways than one. Leaving the scene of an auto accident, especially if there were serious injuries, could result in being charged with hit-and-run driving, which is a criminal offense in Louisiana. In addition, leaving the scene could make it difficult to prove that your injuries resulted from the accident.
Finally, leaving the scene of the accident without full information about the other driver, evidence of liability (such as photographs, audio/video recordings, video of the accident) and proof of insurance could end your claim before it starts.
Mistake #2: Not Exchanging Information With the Other Driver(s).
After a car accident, you should always exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This includes names, contact information, driver’s license number, insurance information, make and model of the vehicle, and license plate number. Without this information, it may be difficult to file a claim against the other driver after you leave.
Mistake #3: Failing To Collect Evidence at the Scene of the Accident.
Evidence from the accident scene will be important to establishing your personal injury claim. If you are able, try and take pictures of the accident scene and get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. An official police report will also be important for your case. A recording (video or audio) of the other driver admitting what happened goes a long way in proving fault even if (and when) that person’s story changes after leaving the accident scene.
Mistake #4: Not Seeking Medical Attention Immediately Following the Accident.
It’s important that you seek medical attention immediately following the accident, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. This will ensure you get the treatment you require and provide you with an accurate record of the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Saying that you are “ok” after an accident isn’t necessarily true. Most people believe if they have no physical injuries (bruising, cuts, broken bones) that they are “ok.” No one is “ok” after an accident. At a minimum, your anxiety level is higher than normal and your adrenaline is pumping. More often than not, at a minimum, you will be sore as the day(s) progress following an accident.
Don’t be tough after an accident, be honest. Give yourself time to ensure you are “ok” before you make that statement. When in doubt, get checked out by a doctor to document your complaints. What might seem like a minor ache or pain could ultimately be a very serious injury. Talking tough after an accident can come back to haunt you if / when you seek compensation. The insurance company will be quick to point out that you said you were “ok” when you later realize you are not as “ok” as you originally thought.
Mistake #5: Failing To Report Your Accident.
Louisiana state law requires drivers to immediately report any accident that resulted in deaths or injuries or property damage in excess of $500. The accident report made by the investigating officer is vital evidence in a personal injury claim. Without a report, an insurance company could refuse to pay your claim. At a minimum, the lack of a police report or definitive evidence of fault (video of the accident, video/audio of the other driver admitting fault) will slow down your claim and could result in days, weeks, or months of issues after the accident.
Mistake #6: Agreeing to a Settlement With the Other Driver’s Insurance Company.
Don’t agree to a settlement with an insurance company until after you’ve spoken to a New Orleans car accident attorney. It may be tempting to accept their initial offer; however, this amount will likely not pay for the total cost of your damages, especially if you’re going to require ongoing medical treatment and/or are unable to return to work. Making any settlement decisions within the first month after an accident is typically a mistake.
Mistake #7: Discuss Your Case With Others.
Refrain from discussing your case with others, especially on social media platforms. What you say can be taken out of context and used against you after an accident; the insurance company is quick to search social media for evidence against you following an injury claim. Posts about the accident and/or any other posts that show your activity level, your demeanor, and your comments on certain topics will be used against you later.
Mistake #8: Failing To Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney.
You’ll want to ensure you get the total compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you avoid the mistakes that could affect the amount of money you are able to collect for your car accident injuries.
They’ll be able to:
- Gather evidence needed to prove your case
- Handle all the legal paperwork
- Help you assign an accurate dollar value to your injuries
- Negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company
- Represent your claim in court
Your attorney’s job is to protect your interests while you recover from your injuries.
JJC Law Is Here To Protect Your Rights After a Louisiana Car Accident
The New Orleans personal injury lawyers at JJC Law are here to protect your rights after you’ve been injured in a Louisiana car accident and help you avoid potential mistakes. We’ve helped clients all over the state obtain the full compensation they deserve after being hurt by the careless actions of other drivers.
Contact the offices of JJC Law through our website, or call us at (504) 513-8820 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. We handle most car accident injury claims on a contingency basis, which means there are no upfront costs to our clients and we don’t charge a fee until we’ve secured your cash settlement.