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What NOT to do if you are hurt in a car accident...

Admitting Fault

An innocent response like “I’m sorry” or "I didn't see you" can spell legal trouble for a person involved in an auto accident. The other party may be able to use such statements as an admission of guilt, which will be used against you. Don’t make any statements that imply any guilt or acceptance of liability.

Not Seeking Medical Treatment

Some car accident victims make the mistake of not getting medical treatment immediately. Others may not notice that they have been injured until days or weeks after the accident because there may not be any visible signs of injury. However, some injuries may not demonstrate physical signs immediately, such as whiplash and some back injuries. Other injuries may take time to demonstrate physical symptoms. It is important to have as much medical documentation of your injuries as possible. Additionally, waiting for days or weeks after an accident may provide an insurance company with a reason to cast doubt over the cause of your injuries. Seek treatment immediately.

Not Documenting Damages

Individuals involved in an accident may not be concerned with preserving evidence and documenting their damages. As a result, they may have their vehicle repaired before documenting the property damage. They may undergo medical treatment without taking pictures of the injuries. They may dispose of receipts and other proof of the costs associated with the accident. These actions can negatively impact the value of the claim.

Talking to the Other Party's Insurance Company

Another common legal mistake is talking to the other person’s insurance company.  Don't do it.  They are the enemy.  They will look for any way to blame you for the accident or otherwise minimize your damages. Therefore, it is very important that you NOT speak to insurance adjusters following an accident.  
Let your legal representative communicate with the insurance company on their behalf.

Talking to Others about the Accident

Anything that a party to a lawsuit says to someone else has the potential to be used against you as evidence. Avoid talking about your accident to anyone but your attorney and medical providers. Stay off social media if you have a pending personal injury case.  Even a seemingly innocent vacation photo may be used against you.

Not Calling the Police and Not Gathering Information 

Drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents may fail to get necessary information from the other party or others at the time of the accident. This can have the impact of potentially eliminating a claim. Be sure to get the following information: 

• Name
• Driver’s license number
• Telephone number
• Address
• Insurance information
• Make and model of vehicle
• License plate number

If any witnesses were present at the accident scene, get their contact information. Additionally, police should always be called to investigate and write up an accident report. 
If possible, take pictures at the scene of the accident, such as pictures that show road conditions, street signs, the direction each vehicle was traveling and the damage to each vehicle.

Not Retaining An Attorney

Some believe that they can handle their injury claim on their own. This is a big mistake. Individuals may make mistakes with their claim that a lawyer may not be able to reverse down the line. Additionally, Missouri has a strict statute of limitations, so failing to take action soon enough can forever bar your injury claim.

If you or someone you know is need of legal advice following an auto accident, please don't hesitate to contact one of our attorneys.  At Glaus & Gohn LC, personal injury consultations are free of charge and completely confidential.  

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