Auto accidents of any type can make for chaotic, unfamiliar, and frightening circumstances. While the aftermath of a wreck can be a challenge, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected, remain calm, and remember that what you say and do can have a potential impact on your personal injury case, should you choose to file one.
At Meyerkord & Kurth, our St. Louis car accident lawyers have represented numerous victims and families throughout the region after they were harmed by the negligence of other motorists. No matter what your car accident involved, we make ourselves available to provide immediate, step-by-step assistance when you need it most.
To help you be prepared for a wreck, we wanted to provide some information about the common mistakes we see victims make:
- Not calling police – Calling the police after an auto accident is important for several reasons. First and foremost, alerting emergency services can help ensure that any injured victims receive the treatment and attention they need at the scene of a wreck. Further, responding law enforcement officers play an important role in helping collect information about what transpired in the accident. Their police reports serve as objective accounts of the crash, and can include information about all parties involved, as well as witnesses. Should you choose to file a personal injury claim for any injuries you sustained as a result of another driver’s negligence, the police report will become an important tool in your legal journey. It also protects you from drivers who may provide false identifying information. Don’t forgo calling the police, even if you think a crash is not serious or that another driver will make you whole “outside” of dealing with insurance.
- Forgetting to gather information – Gathering information on your own, if you are able to do so, can protect you and your rights if you pursue legal action against the at-fault party. Be sure to collect contact, vehicle, and insurance information from any drivers involved, as well as contact information from witnesses who saw what happened. You should also take pictures for your records, including photos of the scene, nearby traffic signs or signals, vehicles and vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. These forms of evidence further protect you as you initial the personal injury claim process.
- Not going to the doctor – Far too many car accident victims feel as if they can tough out injuries or simply want to avoid the doctor. Not only can this compromise your health, it can also prove harmful to your personal injury claim. Even if you were suffering from pain and injuries all along, insurance companies will be quick to point out delays in seeking medical attention as signs that you were not really injured. As such, do yourself a favor – both for your own wellbeing and future injury claim – by seeking timely medical attention. Doing so can help rule out any serious injuries and ensure you receive treatment you need.
- Don’t trust insurers – One of the most important things to remember after an auto accident is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not on your side. Insurers are large corporations motivated by money, and they place profits over people when fighting to deny, dispute, or underpay personal injury claims. When these insurance companies contact you, they may attempt to have you make statements that can be used against you, or may offer lowball settlements when you are still unsure of the full scope of your injuries. Don’t trust them. Instead, have a qualified attorney handle communications with insurers on your behalf.
- Not working with a lawyer – After a wreck that was not your fault, working with a proven personal injury lawyer can make the biggest difference in your case. At our firm, our attorneys know how the personal injury claim process works, and can walk you step by step through the process. We also have the insight and resources to help our clients pursue the compensation they rightfully deserve from insurance companies that want to pay as little as possible.
If you have questions about your rights following any type of auto accident, our St. Louis personal injury lawyers at Meyerkord & Kurth are here to help. Contact us for a FREE consultation.