Have You Been Injured in an Accident? Personal Injuries are Serious Matters

Big Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

According to the most recent Traffic Safety Report Statistics Report from the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT), 25.6% of all motor vehicle accidents resulted in injuries to one or more involved parties. Given the high number of vehicles on the roads of Washington, DC, this means there is a significant chance you may be injured in a car accident.

However, you can protect yourself by learning how to respond in the event you are hurt by another driver. If it happens to you, be sure to avoid these classic mistakes.

#1. Not Calling Police

An official police report is one of your most reliable pieces of evidence in a car accident claim. This provides a definitive, first-hand account of what happened, who caused the accident, what injuries were sustained, and what obvious damage was done. A police report can also help absolve you of guilt if it makes clear that your accident was caused by the other driver.

You can still bring a claim and obtain substantial recovery without a police report, but it could be much more difficult for you to get the compensation you need for your injuries and damages without a police report.

Regardless of whether your physical injuries and car damage are immediately apparent, you should pull over, exchange information with the other driver, and wait for police to come and file an official accident report.

#2. Admitting Guilt

This is a popular (and accurate) piece of advice, but you may still be tempted to blurt out, “I’m sorry!” after getting into a car accident, even if it’s not your fault. After getting into a collision with another driver, always remember that even the slightest suggestion of guilt could cost you thousands of dollars. In fact, implying that you played a role in causing the accident could result in you being forced to compensate the other driver for their injury-related costs and pay for your own out of pocket.

#3. Failure to Gather Evidence

Pew Research Center reports that 77% of Americans now own smartphones. That means that the majority of people in the United States are able to talk, text, access the Internet, and do any number of things with the click of a button—including taking pictures. If you get into a car accident, don’t forget to snap pictures of the accident scene from as many helpful angles as possible. These can provide invaluable evidence if you end up needing to take your case to court. These photos should include photos of the scene of the accident, damage to the vehicles involved, and the other driver’s license plate, driver’s license and physical appearance.

In addition to taking pictures, utilize all other available means of gathering evidence. Talk to anyone who may have witnessed your accident or driven by in the aftermath and collect their names and contact information. This will help your attorney successfully pursue your case.

be sure to consult with an attorney immediately so that you have assistance in gathering evidence regarding your injuries as time goes on, including documentation of time taken off from work, medical records, prescriptions, receipts related to medical care, etc.

#4. Waiting too Long to File a Personal Injury Claim

According to D.C. Code § 12-301(8), you only have three years from the date of your accident to bring a personal injury claim against the party who caused your injuries. There are exceptions to this deadline, but they do not apply in every case and, in fact, are very rare. So, the best thing is to settle your case or file a lawsuit against any potentially responsible person within three years of the accident, at the very latest. Many car accident-related injuries, such as brain damage, may not be immediately obvious and could take time to develop to the point that they negatively affect your life. However, you don’t have to wait until your injuries have caused dire, life-altering harm to take legal action, and compiling all the elements necessary to file a personal injury claim may take longer than you think.

If you have any injuries or have sustained any financial loss as a result of your accident, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss your opportunity to recover compensation for your damages.

#5. Accepting the Initial Insurance Offer

Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to help you. Insurance adjusters and other parties who represent the other driver’s insurance company are likely to give you a low-ball offer that will not give you what you need to afford the long-term costs of your injuries. However, an experienced attorney can help you fight for an adequately sized compensation package to make sure you receive everything to which you are entitled.

Should I Call My Insurance Company or the Other Driver’s Insurance Provider?

We do not recommend contacting your insurance company without being represented by your attorney. Insurance companies do not have a legal obligation to put your interests before theirs, whereas attorneys have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients.

Insurance companies have a contractual obligation to cover your claim in good faith. But, ultimately, the insurance company will simply find the most commercially viable resolution to your complaint, with little regard to your legal rights. Recorded statements to insurance adjusters can be used against you. You should only discuss your case with your attorneys, doctors, and law enforcement officers.

    Call (202) 888-0872 to Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer in Washington, D.C.

    At Simeone & Miller, LLP, we have a long history of success in handling car accident claims. We have the in-depth knowledge and expertise necessary to help you avoid these classic pitfalls and obtain the fair compensation you deserve.

    Connect with one of our Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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