Tips For Dealing With An Auto Accident's Aftermath
When you've been involved in a car accident, you're going to find yourself facing a whirlwind of questions and medical exams. If you've decided to file a claim with the responsible party to get restitution for your injuries, you'll also be meeting with attorneys and dealing with insurance companies. As the time passes after the accident, you face many situations where you could actually hurt your chances of a claim. Here are a few things to keep in mind in the aftermath of the accident.
Fess Up to Your Driving Mistakes
Any time you're asked a question about your car, the accident or the events leading up to it, be honest. It doesn't matter who's asking – law enforcement, your attorney or the insurance company. After all, if the insurance company or an accident reconstruction team can prove that any information you provided was untrue, that's enough to question your credibility.
In the case of auto accidents, that means that even if you think they won't know the difference, you still need to be up-front about what happened. If you were on the phone, eating, texting or otherwise distracted while you were driving, you have to be honest about that in your legal statement. If it's uncovered after the fact and you didn't disclose it, the insurance company may consider that to be enough evidence of false statements to discredit the whole case
Choose Your Words Carefully
Lots of people will have questions for you after an accident, especially if you were hurt. While you need to talk with law enforcement, medical staff and others, you should be careful about what you say and how you say it. Any statements you make about how you're feeling, what the other drivers were doing or what led up to the accident may be taken out of context if you aren't deliberate about your word choices.
Sometimes, it's easiest to ask for your attorney to be present for every interview and conversation, and request that all communication be sent directly to him or her. That way, you have a legal professional who can intervene and ensure that the only information getting out is the necessary information.
In addition, though, you also need to remember to be cautious about what you're putting out on your social media accounts. Any information you post about the accident, about your injuries or about the case could be intercepted by investigators working for the insurance company. This means that if you post a commentary to your friends and family about your treatments and say that you're feeling better, or if you're tagged in pictures that show you at a party, that information could be used to dispute your injury claims.
Don't Sign a Statement or a Settlement Without a Lawyer
Along with having communication directed to your attorney, you should also make sure that any contracts, settlement agreements and other paperwork be vetted by your lawyer before you sign it. Even if the other party assures you that it represents only what was agreed upon, legal terminology can be confusing. Cut through it all with the help of a lawyer so that you don't sign away your rights for a settlement if you've been seriously injured.
Ultimately, you want to be sure that you recover thoroughly after the accident. Working with an attorney on your case will help you to get the funding you may need to pay the medical bills for that recovery. It may also help to ensure that you aren't held liable for part of the accident unnecessarily. Understanding how to navigate the whole process without making costly mistakes can make a big difference in the long run.