Not many are fortunate enough to walk away from an auto accident completely free of harm. The reality is that most accident victims suffer injuries ranging from mild to life-threatening. For payment of injuries and damages, victims can make a claim with their insurance to tap into their coverage. In some cases, that coverage may not be enough to offset the cost of extensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In such cases, victims may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party whose actions or inactions lead to their harm.
To sue someone successfully, certain requirements must be met—starting with the decisions you make in the moments following your accident. To prevent yourself from making costly mistakes, work with a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you protect your best interests and dodge the following mistakes.
Not Reporting an Auto Accident to Police and Insurance
Most prefer not to involve the police after an accident. Often, people believe there’s no point in calling law enforcement because their vehicle damage is insignificant, or they fear their insurance rates will rise. Keep in mind that Pennsylvania requires motorists to report a crash when the damage hinders a vehicle owner from driving away, or if there are injuries or deaths. Accident victims have five days to report the accident if the police were not called initially.
Even if you figure that you or anyone else is not hurt, reporting the accident and documenting the appropriate information with the police can serve as official evidence when pursuing a claim for damages with your insurance. Also, if the other driver that caused the accident was uninsured or flees the scene, your own insurance may require a police report before they agree to cover your claim. When it comes to insurance, you should report the accident immediately for two reasons: One, you may be required to under your contract, and if you don’t report, your claim might be denied. Two, your personal injury protection benefits will come into effect so that your medical bills can be paid by your automobile insurance company.
Admitting Fault for the Accident
You should never admit fault after an accident. When your adrenaline rushes and you’re in panic mode, you may feel inclined to express regret to another driver or speak in a manner that’s self-incriminatory. Being at-fault for the accident will ultimately make you financially responsible for any damages the other person’s insurance didn’t cover. In the aftermath of an accident, it’s okay to check up on others, but it’s recommended that you focus on yourself and get the medical attention you need to prove and treat any injuries you may have endured.
Not Collecting Critical Evidence
Collecting evidence after an accident is not always possible for those who have been seriously injured. However, those still able to function normally should always stick around and gather evidence at the crash. Many ask, “Why do I have to obtain evidence if that’s a police officer’s job?” The answer is because a police report doesn’t necessarily present accurate findings, and mistakes are bound to occur.
By collecting your own evidence, such as the other driver’s contact information, photos of the crash, and eyewitness statements, you may be able to point out inaccuracies in the officer’s account. Failure to gather your own comprehensive evidence forces insurance companies and attorneys to depend solely on the officer’s narrative.
Posting on Social Media Platforms
What you post on social media can be used to disprove your claim. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will employ maximum effort to find evidence that may contradict your former statements, including examining your social media.
What’s more, they may search through your family and friends’ profiles to obtain information that can be used to cast doubt on your evidence. This includes pictures of the accident, your injuries, a night out, or you on vacation. When in doubt, it’s best to keep your private matters off the internet.
Trusting Insurance Claim Adjusters
Insurance adjusters have one motive—protecting themselves. In a vulnerable position, many accident victims confide in their insurers and trust they will act in good faith. Unfortunately, low-ball settlement offers are made to victims who don’t know any better.
This strategy typically hinges on timing, particularly when medical bills, stress, and lost wages appear. It entices victims to accept an early offer because they feel that it’s the best they will get or that it will solve the current problems they are facing. Skilled lawyers know who insurance companies target, what tactics they use, and, more importantly, how to respond with an appropriate counteroffer.
Taking Too Long to File a Lawsuit
Under Pennsylvania law, there’s a two-year time limit on filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, it’s strongly advised to obtain legal representation shortly after your accident. This will give you ample opportunity to work through negotiations with insurance companies before deciding whether to take your case to court.
These timeframes, called the statute of limitations, are strictly enforced by courts, with only a few exceptions. Therefore, if your case has not settled within two years of the date of the accident, you must either have filed a lawsuit or forever be prevented from so doing.
Speak with a Pennsylvania Auto Accident Lawyer Today
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford is different from other personal injury and accident firms because we are prepared for the demanding undertaking of pursuing full financial recoveries for Pennsylvania auto accident victims. Every member of our team combines an arsenal of resources and knowledge to effectively litigate your car accident case. Our unique approach and collaborative efforts have resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements for accident victims throughout Montgomery and Bucks County, PA.
There’s no time to lose. Schedule a free consultation with our legal team today by completing a confidential onlinecontact form or calling (215) 822-7575. Our team is ready to fight for the justice you deserve.