Getting into a car accident is undoubtedly a distressing experience. From the physical injuries to the emotional trauma, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take next. However, when it comes to filing a car accident claim, there are certain mistakes that could potentially compromise your chances of receiving fair compensation for your damages.
In this blog post, we will explore these common errors and provide valuable insights on how to avoid them. We will also explain why you should rely on an experienced Houston car accident lawyer in order to maximize your settlement amount.
Texas Applies a Comparative Negligence Principle to Car Accident Claims
Texas uses a comparative negligence principle when determining liability in all kinds of personal injury cases. What does that mean? Essentially, it means that each party involved in the accident will be assigned a percentage of fault, based on their actions or negligence leading up to the collision.
For example, if you were involved in an accident, it may be determined that you were 20% at fault while the other driver was 80% at fault. Then, your potential compensation could be reduced by 20%. However, you have to be 50% or less at fault in order to be eligible to collect damages.
This is complicated for the average person to understand. Thus, you should consult with an experienced Houston car accident attorney, who can guide you through this process and help navigate any potential complexities along the way.
Also, remember to avoid making these mistakes, which may increase your actual proportion of fault in an insurance adjuster’s opinion:
Mistake 1: Not Reporting the Accident to the Police
When you’re involved in a car accident, one of the first things you should do is report it to the police. Failing to do so can be a major mistake that may compromise your car accident claim. It is also against the law not to report a motor vehicle accident that resulted in injury, death, or property damage that exceeds $1,000 in value.
By reporting the accident, you create an official record of what happened. This documentation can be crucial when it comes time to file your claim and seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
The police report will contain important details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as statements from any witnesses or parties involved. Without this official record, it becomes much harder to prove fault and liability in your case.
Mistake 2: Not Seeking Medical Attention Immediately after the Accident
Your health should always be your top priority, especially after a car accident. Even if you think you’re fine and only experiencing minor discomfort, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away.
Many injuries sustained in car accidents may not show symptoms immediately. Delaying medical treatment can not only worsen your condition but also make it difficult to link your injuries directly to the accident when filing a claim.
By seeking immediate medical attention, you ensure that any hidden or underlying injuries are detected and treated promptly. Additionally, having documented evidence of your injuries will strengthen your case when negotiating with insurance companies or presenting evidence in court.
Mistake 3: Talking to an Insurance Adjuster Without a Lawyer
After a car accident, you may receive a call from the insurance adjuster representing the other party involved. They may seem friendly and concerned about your well-being, but it’s important to remember that their main goal is to protect their client and minimize their liability.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make at this stage is talking to the insurance adjuster without consulting with a lawyer first. The adjuster may use various tactics to get you to admit fault or downplay the severity of your injuries. They might pressure you into accepting a low settlement offer that won’t fully cover your medical expenses and other damages.
Having an experienced Houston car crash lawyer by your side can level the playing field. They will handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that you don’t inadvertently say anything that may jeopardize your claim.
Mistake 4: Posting on the Social Media about the Accident
In this digital age, it’s second nature for many of us to share every aspect of our lives on social media. But when it comes to a car accident claim, posting about the incident can be a big mistake.
You may think that sharing your experience and photos from the accident scene will garner sympathy and support from your friends and followers. However, insurance companies are always looking for ways to minimize their payouts. And they won’t hesitate to use any information you post against you.
Even innocent-seeming posts or pictures can be twisted by insurance adjusters to undermine your claim. For example, if you mention feeling fine after the accident but later develop injuries, they could argue that you’re exaggerating your pain or that something else caused your injuries.
Remember that anything you say online is permanent and can be used as evidence in court. It’s best to avoid discussing the details of the accident or your physical condition on social media until your case is resolved.
Mistake 5: Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
When it comes to filing a car accident claim, time is of the essence. Waiting too long can seriously jeopardize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages. While it may be tempting to delay taking action, thinking that you have plenty of time, this is one mistake you don’t want to make.
The longer you wait to file a claim, the more difficult it becomes to gather evidence and build a strong case. Witnesses’ memories fade over time, crucial documents may get lost or destroyed, and physical evidence at the accident scene could disappear. Additionally, there are strict deadlines known as statutes of limitations that determine how long you have to file a claim.
Your Best Option: Talk to a Houston Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible!
In car accident claims, it’s important not to make any mistakes that could potentially compromise your case. Each of the errors we discussed in this article can have serious consequences for your ability to receive fair compensation.
However, if you have professional legal representation, you will avoid these mistakes. An experienced Houston car accident lawyer will steer you in the right direction and conduct all negotiations on your behalf.
We offer each new client a free case review. So do not hesitate to call us at 346-220-1821!