Please don’t do any of the following after a car accident. You may forfeit your ability to collect money (ever) for your injuries.
Yes, it’s sad that you can say things which could ruin your ability to be compensated for your injuries, even when you’re not at fault for the auto accident and deserve to be made whole.
But it’s the reality you live in and face every day. It’s the way the world works. And you want to make sure that you can collect for your injuries when you do deserve to do so.
Fortunately, it’s not overly tricky. You just have to follow a few simple rules of things NOT to do or say following a car crash.
Don’t Say You’re “Sorry”
You’re a good-hearted person. You want the other person to feel better. You can try to comfort them. That won’t hurt you.
But don’t ever use the word “sorry.” For any reason. Ever.
That single word can instantly destroy the credibility of your case and make it look like you had some level of fault.
Don’t Speak with Your Insurer Until You Have Legal Advice
Know the insurance commercial that goes “(company name) is on your side?”
You should laugh every time you hear that.
Your insurance company isn’t on your side. And neither is the other driver’s. Both want to profit off you. The claims adjuster’s goal is to get you to say something that allows them to pay as little as possible for your injuries. Ideally, they’d like to pay nothing at all.
Texas law does not require you to give a statement to your insurance company within any kind of time-frame, although you do have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company’s investigation of a claim. Call an attorney first. The very worst that could happen is you learn that the auto accident lawyer can’t help you, but that the other driver’s insurance company should cover your costs.
Don’t Sign Anything
After an accident that you’re not at fault for, you’ll wonder what’s going on with the insurance company. They’ve never been so happy to help!
Strange…that’s not the way it usually works.
Don’t fall for it! They rush you through the process as fast as possible so you don’t have time to consider if they’re offering you a fair settlement.
And guess what they want to do? Get you to settle fast for a small lump sum that saves them money in the long run.
In Texas, you have 2 years from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit, if the liability claim cannot be resolved. If the other driver has no insurance, and you have to file on your own policy, you should do so promptly.
Your time to file a lawsuit against your own insurance company if they don’t fairly resolve a first-party claim, is often triggered on the date they deny to pay your claim in whole or in part. Make sure to contact a personal injury attorney for a detailed discussion regarding the statute of limitations on all applicable claims.
Don’t sign anything and feel no pressure to act without thinking it through and getting legal advice first!
Don’t Automatically Accept an Appraisal of Losses
Oh, those delightful insurance companies are full of them, aren’t they?
They came back to you with an appraisal of your car that’s a fair amount lower than you expected.
Good news: you don’t have to accept it. Make sure you examine and compare their number to market research. Do an honest blue book value of your car. See what cars in the local market that are similar to yours (make/model/year/mileage/options) are selling for on the open market.?
If You Suspect Something Underhanded Is Going On, It Probably Is
Your instinct and gut often tell you when things aren’t going quite right. If you don’t feel comfortable, run your case by an experienced lawyer who handles personal injury. You can get a free consultation to evaluate whether you’re getting a fair deal. So you have absolutely no risk.
Consultations Are Free So Talk To A Lawyer Today.
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Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years. Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.