If you have been hurt in a car accident, the most important step is to receive the medical care you need to get on the mend. Then, it’s appropriate to file a claim and receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To maximize your settlement amount, avoid these top six mistakes car accident victims make when filing a personal injury claim.
Failing to Call the Police
If you’re in a minor fender bender, you don’t have to involve law enforcement. However, Virginia law requires that you report the accident to the police if anyone is injured or killed, or if the total property damage exceeds $500.
The at-fault driver may discourage you from calling the police, but failure to do so could make your case more difficult to prove. When the police get involved, they file a report that serves as an official record of the accident, with details that are essential to your claim.
Waiting Too Long to See a Doctor
It’s easy to postpone medical treatment if your injuries seem minor. However, the longer you wait to get examined, the more challenging it is to show that your injuries stemmed from the accident. It’s also difficult to prove the severity of your injuries if you heal for a few weeks or months before receiving a medical evaluation.
Not Following the Doctor’s Orders
You will likely receive instructions from your doctor to speed up the healing process. If you ignore this advice, you may forfeit your right to compensation. For example, if the doctor tells you to rest for a few weeks, but you return to work early, the insurance company may argue that you weren’t as hurt as you claimed.
Accepting the Insurance Company’s First Offer
To avoid paying you the full sum you deserve, your insurance company may offer a low initial settlement. They may assume you need money to cover your expenses, so you are likely to accept any payment they provide. If you cash the check, you surrender your right to further legal action. Present the settlement amount to your car accident injury attorney and let him or her negotiate on your behalf.
Providing a Statement for the Adverse Adjuster
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company approaches you about making a recorded statement, speak with your attorney first. Anything you say can be used against you, meaning this is rarely a good idea for injury victims.
Taking Too Long to File a Claim
The statute of limitations in Virginia typically gives injured parties two years to file a personal injury claim. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to prove damages. Therefore, it’s best to speak with a car accident lawyer in Virginia as soon as possible.
Law Firm of Kevin Paul Childers is here to help you get back on your feet after being in a car accident. We can help ensure you receive just compensation for your losses. To begin the fight for a fair settlement, please contact us today.