Knowledge = Money
People go through their lives believing bad things won’t happen to them. Often, it’s not until life hands us a crisis that we realize we wish we had been a bit better prepared or knew more.
Hindsight stings and uninformed decisions can cost you thousands of dollars.
A motor vehicle accident is one of those unexpected events that can ruin your life as well as your future and fortune.
Think about how much time you spend on the road and then consider the odds of you getting in an accident one day. The odds are higher than you think. Therefore, I suggest you take a second to get to know:
“The 7 Fatal Mistakes Made by People After an Accident.”
Remember in all things… KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
1ST Mistake – PANIC
A car accident is traumatic and stressful. Sometimes, people with injuries make bad decisions immediately following the accident. Failure to keep your cool can cost you in the long run; you can be charged or you can lose your ability to be compensated by making bad decisions immediately following an accident. Here is what you need to do:
- Remain at the scene (call 911- the law demands you stay at the scene unless you need immediate medical attention).
- Don’t be a tough guy- seek medical attention at a hospital even if you think it is nothing.
- Takes photos of the scene if you can, make notes.
- Know that no one can look at your phone without your permission, ensure it has a password.
- Make no admissions. You have an obligation to tell police what happened on the road (put your phone away. You were not using it while driving). Identify yourself and tell them what happened. Do not answer questions that can expose you to charges. You have a right to silence if you are being investigated for a crime. Ask the officer if he is investigating a crime before speaking.
- Get the name of the police officer and ask for a full police report
2nd Mistake – MEDICAL STUBBORNESS
Many people don’t like hospitals and they hate speaking to doctors. This is understandable. But you must know that doctor’s records are the foundation for getting you compensation after an accident. Documentation is the single biggest factor in settling claims for the highest amount possible. Keep these things in mind:
- Medical records are written down by your treatment providers, tell them what you feel
- Keep a journal about what you are feeling
- Understand that pain manifests itself in many ways and can take time to reveal itself
- Documents are key, keep everything, receipts, letters for your records
3rd Mistake – TREATMENT IS BORING
You wouldn’t believe how many people do not go to the Emergency who should and cause themselves unnecessary suffering and the loss of thousands of dollars. Injuries from car accidents often happen below the surface and people used to working through pain can make huge mistakes about the need to get professional help. Here are some key medical points:
- Go to Emergency.
- The next day go to your family doctor so that she may know how you are doing.
- Schedule a follow up a month later.
- Get recovery treatment, physio, chiro and massage.
- Make sure your treatment providers are interested in your recovery and not just billing your insurance company.
4th mistake – OOPS – I SIGNED IT AGAIN
Don’t sign anything ever without legal advice, ask yourself why someone would want you to sign something without knowing your rights.
- You will be approached by the insurance company at some point and will be asked to make a statement and sign it. There is no benefit you can receive by doing this and it could only serve to assist the insurance company is valuing your claim lower than you deserve.
- You do not know what you do not know, this is very important when dealing with a complex issue with a lot at stake, knowledge is power.
- Do not rush, take your time and get good advice. Call a lawyer as soon as possible, this is one time you will be glad to have one on your side.
5th mistake – I NEED A REDO
Hiring the wrong lawyer can be costly. There is, as in any profession a large spectrum of ability amongst lawyers. Who you hire will directly affect how your lawsuit progresses and what result you get. It is in your interests to be an informed consumer, please refer to our companion e-book, “How to Hire a Lawyer” for more information:
- Billboards are not your measure of ability, they tell you that the firm has enough money to pay big bucks to rope you in because they know that if 10 people come in one will be worth big bucks.
- Many of these firms pretend to have lawyers in your town, but in reality they are referral companies that put a picture on a billboard and the guy in the picture never sees your file and lives a few hundred miles away.
- Be a smart consumer, you can always switch lawyers if you are not satisfied.
6th Mistake – LACK OF FOLLOW UP
Some people don’t work with their lawyer, they assume everything will be taken care of. Here are some helpful pointers:
- Make sure your lawyer knows you are on top of your own case, ensure the commnuncaite with you regularly, read up on your injuiries, be informed! Not so you can run the case, but so you can help.
- Often cases are held up by delays getting medical records, tax returns or other. documentation. Don’t be the source of delay, work with your medical team to make sure documents are acquired as soon as possible and your settlement dollars will come sooner rather than later.
7TH Mistake – EXAGGERATION
There are a lot of misconceptions about Personal Injury Claims. There are some in the industry who push the boundaries of ethics. It is not in your interest to work with professionals who encourage you to exaggerate your claim or seek treatment or compensation for injuries you are not experiencing.
Some people want to exaggerate their injuries thinking it will get them more money. Often the opposite is true. Honesty is the best way to receive the compensation you deserve and it can actually help your case as insurance companies have come to hate clients they consider to be milking the system. A good honest client can be treated very well if represented by honest counsel.
As always, knowledge is power. Ask your lawyer before disclosing anything about your case.