Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
If you get injured in a car accident, you need to know what steps to take to protect your rights as a victim. Many crash victims do not realize that what they do in the immediate aftermath of a collision can affect their injury claims. Avoid these mistakes our Birmingham car accident lawyers have seen often made by car accident victims in order to strengthen your insurance claim as much as possible.
Fleeing the Scene
Never flee the scene of a car accident without stopping to render aid and exchange information with the other driver. Under Alabama law, this is the crime of a hit-and-run, which can lead to criminal charges and jail time. You are legally required to stop at the scene – or stop and return to the scene as quickly as possible – of any car crash in Alabama.
Delaying Medical Care
Car accidents can cause serious and life-threatening injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. You have a responsibility as a driver to check yourself and others for injuries after a collision. If someone is hurt, you have a duty to render aid. This may mean providing a ride to the nearest hospital or calling 911 to request an ambulance. Get medical care for your own injuries as soon as possible. Delaying medical care can give a car insurance company a reason to deny your claim.
Once you have stopped your vehicle and checked yourself and others for injuries, exchange information with the other driver. However, do not admit fault for the car accident or apologize. Saying you’re sorry to the driver could be misconstrued as an admittance of guilt or a confession to causing the car accident. Do not admit fault to the other driver, the police or an insurance provider.
Failing to Report the Accident to the Police
Alabama law requires drivers to call the police and report any accident that results in injuries or deaths. Even if your crash is minor, however, you should report it to the police. A police report can serve as an important piece of evidence during your car insurance claim. If the other driver violated a traffic law, for example, this will be recorded in the police report. You must also report your car accident to the Alabama Department of Public Safety within 30 days.
Forgetting to Take Pictures
Before you leave the scene of a car accident, remember to take photographs. Take pictures of the property damage on both vehicles, the location where the crash occurred, street signs, road markings and any other relevant details. Gather any other available evidence, as well, such as eyewitness statements and dashcam or surveillance footage.
Missing Alabama’s Filing Deadline
If you wish to file a personal injury claim for a car accident in Alabama, you have a maximum of two years from the date of the collision to do so. Two years is the statute of limitations on most car accident cases in Alabama. If you miss your filing deadline, you will give up the ability to seek financial compensation for your crash. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Birmingham as soon as possible about a potential claim after your car accident in Birmingham.
Not Contacting a Car Accident Lawyer
One of the most critical mistakes to avoid is settling too quickly and not contacting a lawyer for advice. Car insurance companies often take advantage of claimants and offer low initial settlements. Before accepting a settlement, consult with a skilled car accident attorney in Birmingham, AL. Your lawyer can stand up for your rights and help you pursue the financial compensation that you deserve after a car accident in Birmingham. Contact Drake Injury Lawyers for a free case consultation with an attorney to learn more.