After an accident, you may feel confused about what to do and where to turn. If you’ve been hurt and you’re considering bringing a personal injury claim against any at-fault parties, it’s important to take certain steps to protect your rights. However, there also are things you want to avoid to ensure you don’t jeopardize your case. The personal injury lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices in Eastern Pennsylvania offer some tips on what NOT to do if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
DON’T Decline Medical Attention
When you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s vital to seek medical treatment, even if you believe you’re not seriously injured. Symptoms of some injuries don’t appear right away, so it’s important to have a doctor check you out and order diagnostic tests that may show you sustained an injury. Going to the ER or seeing a doctor safeguards your health and provides evidence such as medical records and test results, which are crucial pieces of evidence in accident claims.
DON’T Forget to Collect Evidence
Regardless of the type of accident, it’s important to collect evidence right away. If possible, take photos of the scene, any property damage, and your injuries. Obtain insurance and contact information from all involved parties and jot down contact information for any witnesses. If law enforcement is involved, ask for a copy of the police report. All these things provide valuable documentation of what happened and who may be responsible for your injuries. If you’re unable to collect evidence because you are severely injured, ask someone who’s with you or a bystander to do it for you.
DON’T Give a Statement to Insurance Adjusters or Admit Fault
If you’re hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or another type of accident, the liable party’s insurance company likely will contact you shortly after. Before speaking to anyone from their insurance company, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Part of an insurance adjuster’s job is to help the company save money, and they may try to twist your words to avoid paying compensation. If you do speak to an adjuster, make sure not to use statements such as “I’m sorry” or “it was my fault.” If you’ve already hired an accident lawyer, refer all communications to them. It’s also important not to give a written statement or sign any documents without speaking to an attorney first.
DON’T Accept the First Settlement Offer
Again, insurance companies do everything in their power to offer injured victims as little compensation as possible and prey on the vulnerable. Injured victims often worry about how they’ll pay their bills and end up accepting an inadequate settlement due to financial worries. It’s easy to underestimate the total costs of damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A lawyer who is experienced in handling cases involving motor vehicle crashes can accurately value your claim and handle all negotiations with insurers. Having an experienced professional in your corner can help protect your health and financial security and allow you to focus on your recovery.
DON’T Talk to Anyone About Your Case
The only person who should know the details of your case is your lawyer. The personal injury claims process can take time, and it may be tempting to speak to loved ones or post about it on social media. When investigating a claim, insurance companies and their lawyers look for whatever they can to discredit you and minimize the severity of your injuries. They may interview people you know as witnesses and scour your social media accounts for evidence. It’s best not to post anything at all – even seemingly harmless photos and posts can be used against you.
DON’T Wait Too Long
The sooner you contact an attorney, the better. Each state has statutes of limitations on how much time you have to file a personal injury claim after an accident. Memories fade, and it can be more difficult to obtain evidence after months or even years have passed.
DON’T Try to Go it Alone
Seeking the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer gives you a much better chance of obtaining the full and fair amount of compensation you need and deserve. Your attorney will fight for your rights and look out for your best interests every step of the way. You really have nothing to lose if you contact an accident lawyer – most offer free case evaluations and work on contingency, which means you won’t owe attorneys’ fees unless they make a recovery for you.
Contact an Accident Attorney In Eastern PA
For more than 30 years, our accident attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad have successfully recovered compensation for countless injured victims and their families. With offices in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, and Monroe counties, we represent injured victims throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our Bethlehem office at 610-867-2900.