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Five Things to Avoid After a Car Accident

Posted in Car Accidents on January 17, 2021

When you’re involved in a Louisiana car accident, everything gets a little crazy. During those first post-accident minutes and hours, you must figure out what happened, interact with the other driver, and dial 911. You must assess your need for emergency medical care and address your passengers’ needs as well. You quickly realize that you can’t control most of what’s going on around you, but you must at least maintain control over yourself.

Here are five things you must avoid after a car accident.

1. Never Admit Fault!

Accidents are heat-of-the-moment incidents where people often react impulsively. Some drivers scream and shout. Others jump out of their cars and say “I’m sorry,” even when they’re not at fault. Regardless of how you feel, you must control your desire to speak out. Don’t yell at the other driver and don’t say anything that sounds like an apology or an admission of fault. If you say anything that sounds like you did something wrong, it will come back to haunt you as you are trying to settle your claim.

After an accident, someone is always listening. While you believe your “I’m sorry” is simple politeness, others will see it as an admission of fault. Innocent or not, a bystander may repeat your words to a police officer, and he will include them in his police report. The other driver will relay your statement to his insurance carrier. They will consider your admission as they’re deciding whether to pay your claim.

You might forget you apologized or admitted fault, but your words will never fade away. The liability insurer will mention it during settlement negotiations. A defense attorney will ask you about you to explain it during a deposition. If your case goes to trial, a jury will hear how you apologized right after the accident occurred. Before you say anything after an accident, consider this.

  • Spontaneous (res gestae) statements sound credible because you release them without thinking.
  • Even if you believe you’re at fault, you should seek a legal opinion before discussing it.
  • The other driver might believe he is at fault until you give him a reason to think otherwise.
  • Louisiana statutes recognize that both drivers can be at fault for an accident. Your words may increase how others perceive your fault percentage.

2. Don’t Try to Recover From Your Injuries Without Medical Treatment

When you’re injured in an accident, there’s nothing noble about sucking up the pain until your injuries get better. It might delay your recovery and you will endure unnecessary suffering. When you self-treat your injuries, you also minimize your chance of recovering a settlement.

When you’re hurt, you must seek immediate medical treatment. You should also follow your doctor’s orders and comply with his instructions. That means getting your prescriptions filled, attending physical therapy sessions, taking time off work, and doing anything else your doctor recommends. There are a number of reasons why it’s essential to follow through with your medical care.

  • Your medical treatment is one of the few measures insurance companies and juries have for judging your injury severity. If you take pain pills, it demonstrates that you had pain. If you keep your physical therapy appointments, they reasonably assume that you’re having difficulty healing.
  • If you don’t see a doctor at all, it demonstrates that you have no injury.
  • If you return to work before you should, it implies that you have recovered enough to resume your job duties.

3. Don’t Discuss Your Accident or Injuries With Anyone

When you’re injured in an accident, liability insurers want information, so their investigators come at you from all directions. They call you. They show up in your hospital room, and they knock on your front door. They want your version of the accident. They want to know about your injuries, your treatment costs, and your lost wages. Of course, you shouldn’t talk to the other driver’s liability insurer, but you also shouldn’t discuss your injuries with your friends and neighbors.

When insurance investigators get frustrated with trying to reach you, they talk to your neighbors instead. They will ask the guy next door if he’s seen you working in your yard. They’ll ask your neighbors down the street what they know about your injuries. An investigator will talk to your coworkers, and anyone else he believes isn’t bound by a privacy statute or guideline.

You don’t have to talk to anyone but your own insurance company’s representatives. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, your attorney can intervene on your behalf.

4. Don’t Post On Social Media

Just because you no longer receive calls from the liability insurer, it doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped looking for information. When an insurance company wants to know more about your life, they use every available means. Insurers now turn to social media as a viable information resource. It’s the perfect place to find details about injured people and their day-to-day activities.

Based on Pew Research Center statistics, 74% or all adults visit Facebook each day. YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have substantial numbers of daily visitors as well. Each platform caters to a specific demographic. If you use social media, you probably do what everyone else does. You post vacation photos, exercise routines, family outings, weddings, sob stories, selfies, and more. Investigators need only search your public posts or follow you to find out if you’re as injured as you say. Some investigators send friend requests. Others use online investigative tools to backtrack into your private information through public pages and groups.

5. Don’t Try to Resolve Your Claim Without Legal Assistance

If you sustained injuries in an auto accident, you should never try to handle your case on your own. Liability and injury settlement values are often complicated. You need a legal representative who understands how you investigate, evaluate, and present your claim. If you resolve your claim without legal assistance, you will never know if you received a fair settlement.

Personal injury attorneys perform a long list of legal services to produce the best results for their clients. They investigate accidents, evaluate evidence, determine the responsible parties, and place them on notice. They monitor their clients’ recovery and help them determine the optimum timing to present a claim. When liability insurers cooperate, attorneys negotiate cases to conclusion. When necessary, they file a lawsuit on their client’s behalf. They conduct discovery and try cases, and continue settlement negotiations while the lawsuit is pending.

The Law Offices of John Redmann

If you sustained injuries in a Louisiana accident, contact The Law Offices of John Redmann. We have offices in Gretna and Metairie, Louisiana. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in damages for our injured clients. When you tell us about your accident, we’ll determine if we can help you.

To schedule a complimentary legal consultation, call us at 504-500-5000.