Common Mistakes Injury Victims Make After Auto Accidents

Common Mistakes Injury Victims Make After Auto Accidents

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

In Michigan, if you are seriously injured in a car crash, you can file a lawsuit against the driver. However, legal claims are delicate: one small mistake can invalidate your claim. Most car accident victims are unfamiliar with the legal system, leading to common errors that cost them their settlement.

Many mistakes are avoidable with the help of a Michigan auto accident injury lawyer. Explore the most common mistakes that car accident victims make and how the legal team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can guide you toward a successful claim.

Downplaying Their Injuries

Others may not think you are seriously injured if you downplay your injuries. You may not receive the necessary medical attention until later and could further injure yourself.

Dismissing your injuries can also interfere with your ability to file a claim against the negligent driver later. For example, if you attempt to file for pain and suffering, their attorney may say that your injuries were not serious enough to cause significant pain and suffering because you delayed seeking medical attention.

What to Do Instead

Seek medical treatment after the accident, even if you do not think you were injured. Some injuries, like brain injuries or whiplash, may not show up for hours or days after the accident.

Doctor’s notes, X-rays, and other medical tests and treatments documented in your medical records establish critical evidence for your claim. Without this information, it is challenging to prove your claim, no matter how devastating your injuries and suffering.

Apologizing for the Accident

Apologizing after the accident can be seen as an admission of fault. If you say, “I’m sorry,” the other party’s attorney may use your apology as proof that you were at fault for the accident.

Even if you do not explicitly apologize for the collision, the other driver could argue that you implied you were at fault. Limit your conversation to avoid accidentally incriminating yourself.

What to Do Instead

Only communicate with the other driver as necessary. Ask if they are injured and exchange information for filing an insurance claim. Once you have the information, you do not need to communicate further.

Let your attorney know if the other driver attempts to contact you after the accident. They can communicate with the other driver on your behalf.

Not Documenting Evidence of the Crash

In the aftermath of a car accident, you may not take pictures of the damage or write down the symptoms of your injuries. However, if you file a claim against the other driver, you must provide evidence of your damages. Your claim will be dismissed if you do not have proof of how the crash affected you.

What to Do Instead

Collect as much evidence of the crash and its aftermath, even if you do not believe it’s necessary. Make sure that you:

  • Take pictures or videos of damage to your car and nearby property.
  • Photograph any visible injuries you sustained during the crash.
  • Document any pain you feel in writing. Record where the pain is, when you feel it, and how serious it is.
  • Scan medical bills and treatment records.
  • Obtain a copy of the accident report.

You may need help to collect some types of evidence. A Michigan car accident lawyer from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can obtain evidence you cannot. For example, we can request security footage from an intersection camera to prove that the negligent driver was speeding, texting, or driving erratically.

Not Filing an Insurance Claim

Most car insurance policies require you to file a claim after an accident, even if the collision was minor. If you do not file with your insurance, you will not receive coverage for any resulting costs, and your insurer may have the right to cancel your policy.

Furthermore, you will be unable to file a claim against the other driver. In Michigan, you must claim the maximum coverage offered by your insurance provider before filing against the other driver. Any claim you make against the negligent driver will be dismissed if you do not collect compensation from your insurance company.

What to Do Instead

File a claim with your insurance company. In Michigan, all drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection coverage, which covers medical bills and lost wages. Even if you have minimal coverage, you must accept that coverage before you can file against the other driver.

Talking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

Michigan is a no-fault state. While you will need the other driver’s insurance information if you are involved in a car accident, you will file a claim for compensation with your own insurance company. Communicating with the other driver’s insurance provider is unnecessary.

The other driver’s insurance adjuster may contact you, asking for more information about the accident, requesting a recorded statement, or asking that you sign a release. Many victims of car accidents provide this information because they incorrectly believe it is necessary for their claim. However, in doing so, you may inadvertently admit fault or waive your right to file a claim against the other driver.

What to Do Instead

Tell your attorney that the insurance provider contacted you. Once you have a personal injury attorney, the other driver’s insurance company must speak to your car accident lawyer. Your attorney will handle all further communication with the other driver’s insurance company.

Michigan auto accident injury lawyer

Posting on Social Media

Posting about the accident on social media creates evidence for the other party’s attorney to use against you. For example, the lawyer can argue that the wording of your Facebook or Instagram posts implies that you hit the other driver and that you are at fault for the accident.

Some people incorrectly believe that making posts unrelated to the accident is safe. However, the other party’s attorney can use these posts as evidence that you are not focused on your recovery or were not as seriously injured as you claimed.

What to Do Instead

Limit your social media use until your attorney tells you otherwise. Set all your profiles to private, and do not accept any new friends while your claim is ongoing. Your lawyer will advise you on an acceptable amount of social media use and appropriate ways to communicate with loved ones during your claim.

Accepting a Settlement Immediately

If you have filed against the other driver, their insurance provider may offer you a settlement for your injuries. Many accident victims believe this settlement is sufficient and accept it, which resolves the claim.

However, these settlements often do not provide adequate compensation for your losses. They may also fail to include compensation you were seeking, like damages for pain and suffering or future medical treatment. By the time many accident victims recognize this, they have already accepted the settlement and cannot recover more from the insurance company.

What to Do Instead

Inform your attorney that you have received a settlement offer. Your attorney will review the offer to ensure it is fair and meets your needs. If the settlement is too low, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain fair financial compensation.

Not Consulting a Lawyer

Many victims of car accidents try to handle car accident claims on their own. However, auto accident claims are complex, particularly in a no-fault state like Michigan.

Without the advice of an attorney, you may say or do something that prevents you from obtaining an appropriate settlement. An experienced attorney can help you avoid making mistakes after a vehicle accident that could jeopardize your claim.

What to Do Instead

Schedule a free consultation with the Michigan auto accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. We will assist you with every step of your legal claim, from gathering evidence to collecting a settlement.

If you are reluctant to hire a lawyer because of the cost, consult an attorney who works on contingency. Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Attorneys work on a contingency fee arrangement and only require payment once your case is settled.

This arrangement enables you to get the best legal representation possible and focus on your recovery without worrying about legal fees.

Consult the Car Accident Attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.

A car accident can turn your life upside down in the blink of an eye. The legal team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. has extensive experience helping car accident victims in Michigan and successfully recovering the compensation they’re owed.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Riley Emerson is a freelance writer whose work focuses on improving legal accessibility and justice. He enjoys relating complex legal issues in a straightforward way, so people can get the legal help they need.

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