Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience. Not only do you have to deal with all the actual damages arising from the accident, but you must also be mindful to not do anything that could damage your insurance claim. The following are some of the common things we recommend to our clients not to do following their car accident.
Failing to Report the Accident
Although many people try to avoid contacting the police following a car accident, for the most part, it is a wise thing to do. If you only obtain the other drivers insurance information and contact information, you leave yourself open to various problems like incorrect information, lack of a written record describing the accident, or denial of fault by the other party after the fact. When you involve the police, you bring in a neutral party that will facilitate the process necessary to resolve the accident in an efficient manner. Additionally, you create a reliable record of the accident that can be used to bolster your insurance claim.
Providing a Recorded Statement to the Other Party’s Insurance
Almost all insurance policies require their insured to make a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. This is required in order to establish the insured’s versuib of what happened. However, unless you are legally obligated, it is not in your best interest to give a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster. Due to the fact that North Carolina still follows the doctrine of Contributory Negligence, where an injured party cannot collect any damages if they contributed to the accident in any way, any statement that you provide that may contain any indication of fault could be detrimental to your insurance claim. As such, it is important to only provide information to your own insurance company.
Signing A Scheduled Release or Settlement Form
Typically, following notification of an accident, an insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to the scene fairly quickly to begin the process of satisfying a claim. Some less then scrupulous insurance companies will take this opportunity to have their adjuster offer an initial settlement or scheduled release to the insured. Typically, these offers are for FAR less money then an insured would get if they waited and went through the entire process of an insurance claim. In general, it is foolish to accept any offer before being sure that there will not be additional medical bills or other expenses due to the accident.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, Contact Us to schedule a free consultation regarding your personal injury claim. In order to have the best chance at succeeding in your car accident claim, hiring an attorney who is capable of advocating on your behalf will help you receive the highest settlement amount available.
James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.