In a previous article, we discussed 10 steps to take after a car accident in Louisiana. We explained how important it is to make sure you see a doctor and follow your doctor’s advice, and we discussed ways you could help make sure your attorney has the information they need to pursue a claim on your behalf.
In addition to taking these steps, it is also essential to avoid some costly mistakes. If you make these mistakes, it could limit the amount you can recover—or it could even jeopardize your claim entirely. Here are 10 examples of what NOT to do after a car accident in Louisiana:
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10 Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident in Alexandria, LA
1. Assume You are Okay
If you aren’t in pain, if you aren’t having trouble walking or sitting, and if you can clearly remember the details of the accident, you might be OK. But, it is important not to assume that this is the case. Car accidents can cause a wide range of traumatic injuries, and the effects of many of these injuries won’t become apparent for days – or even weeks or months – after the collision.
As a result, regardless of how you feel right now, you should see a doctor. Tell your doctor that you were in a car accident, and let your doctor use their medical expertise to assess your condition.
2. Assume You Were at Fault
No matter what happened in the moments leading up to the accident, it would help if you never assumed that you were at fault. Just as it takes medical expertise to assess the effects of a car accident, it requires legal knowledge to determine an accident’s cause.
When you hire an attorney to help you, your attorney will conduct an investigation and determine exactly why the accident happened—and, if it turns out you were partially at fault, your attorney may still be able to help you pursue a financial recovery.
3. Ignore Your Doctor’s Advice
If you need treatment due to your car accident, you need to follow your doctor’s advice. Ignoring your doctor’s advice can not only lead to medical complications but can create challenges for your insurance claim as well.
4. Fail to Report Your Accident
In most cases, you are required to report a car accident to the police. You may also have an obligation to report the accident to your insurance company. Failing to report your car accident can also lead to unnecessary challenges. If you aren’t sure whether you should report your accident or aren’t comfortable reporting your accident on your own, you should contact an attorney promptly.
5. Say Too Much to Your Insurance Adjuster
When you contact your insurance company, you need to be very careful about what you say. Generally speaking, you should avoid saying anything that isn’t strictly necessary to report the accident in accordance with your policy.
While you are on the phone, your insurance adjuster will ask you lots of questions. Most of these questions you are not required to answer. You are always entitled to say, “I don’t know,” and you need to avoid letting your adjuster talk you into saying something your insurance company can use against you.
6. Post about the Accident Online
If you post about the accident online, anything you post will be fair game for the insurance companies. As a result, for the time being, it is best not to post anything at all. Keep the details of your car accident between you and your attorney, and that way, you will avoid inadvertently jeopardizing your claim by posting something online.
7. Let Your Insurance Company Decide How Much To Pay
Insurance companies like to have control. They want to handle claims at their own pace, and they like to tell accident victims how much they are willing to pay. But, as an accident victim, letting your insurance company decide how much to pay is a mistake. You need to work with your attorney to accurately calculate the value of your claim (including compensation for your pain and suffering—which your insurance company won’t pay voluntarily), and you need to fight to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
8. Ignore the Possibility of Filing a Third-Party Claim
Depending on the factors involved in your accident, filing an auto insurance claim might not be your only option. You could also have one or more “third-party” claims. These are claims against vehicle manufacturers, repair shops, government agencies, and other entities that share responsibility for a collision. If your losses are substantial and the insurance coverage available to you is limited, filing a third-party claim could be essential for you to recover just compensation fully.
9. Wait Any Longer Than Necessary
In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of your car accident to file a claim. If you wait a year and a day, you will lose your right to just compensation. But, waiting any longer than necessary can potentially jeopardize your recovery. As a result, you must get help right away.
10. Try to Handle Your Situation On Your Own
Many car accident victims try to handle their situation on their own. However, this can be incredibly costly. Without an attorney, you stand little to no chance of recovering the total compensation you deserve. You can get an initial consultation completely risk-free; and, if an experienced car accident lawyer takes your case, this means the lawyer believes they can help you collect more (and probably significantly more) than you could recover without legal representation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Alexandra, LA Car Accident Lawyer
If you would like to know more about how to protect your legal rights after a car accident, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with Alexandra, LA car accident lawyer Chris J. Roy in confidence, call 318-413-6191 or tell us how to reach you online now.