Being involved in a traffic accident is not an easy experience. Although accidents can change our lives in an instant, dealing with the aftermath can be a process that takes weeks, months, or even years. No matter what type of auto accident you've had, it's always important to remain calm and focus on ways to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your right to compensation.
Here at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we've helped many victims and families injured in car wrecks. Having worked so many car accident cases, we know the types of things victims should focus on, as well as the things they should avoid.
Below is a list of some of the most common mistakes people make after an auto accident – mistakes that can affect your health and ability to file a personal injury claim.
- Not Calling Law Enforcement – Contacting law enforcement after an accident, if you're able to do so, can be important to protecting your potential injury claim. Police officers can help serve as neutral observers, and will take records and statements about the accident when compiling a report.
- Not Collecting Information – Forgetting to collect and exchange information can be a crucial mistake. After an accident, you should always try to collect the contact information of the other driver, including their contact and insurance information, driver's license number, and license plate number. If there are witnesses, collect their contact information as well. You may need them later on if you choose to file a claim.
- Not Getting Medical Treatment – After an accident, your body may be in shock and you may not feel pain until hours after the accident, or even the next day. If you don't require emergency treatment, seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible so you can be sure of any injuries or receive the treatment you need. If you don't seek timely medical treatment and choose to file a personal injury claim at a later date, you will likely be questioned and have a difficult time explaining why you waited to see a doctor when you were in fact experiencing pain all along.
- Not Collecting Evidence – Accident scenes get cleaned up, cars get repaired, and people forget things. If you're able to do so after an accident, you should try to collect and preserve evidence of what happened. Take pictures or videos of the scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. Ask witnesses about what they saw, but don't rely on others to secure evidence for you.
- Trusting Insurance Companies – Insurance companies are in business to collect insurance premiums, not pay victims. Because of this, insurance companies often place profits over people, and will do anything they can to pay you as little as possible. Don't trust that insurance companies are being up front with you, don't speak to insurance reps without a lawyer, and don't settle too quickly!
- Waiting Too Long to File a Claim – There are time limits in place for filing personal injury claims after accidents. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, most personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the date of an injury. Because time can be a factor, victims should seek help from lawyers as soon as possible.
- Not Contacting an Attorney – After an accident, one of the most important things you can do is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A seasoned attorney can help you understand your rights, inform you of your legal options, and guide you through the process of filing a claim for damages. Contacting a lawyer immediately after an accident can help ensure you don't make mistakes. Some law firms offer a free consultation to you get started.
We hope these tips can help you better protect your legal rights after an auto accident. For more information, you can also download our accident guide. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our South Carolina car accident attorneys are prepared to help victims and families throughout the state. Contact us today to learn more about your case and how we can help during a FREE case review.