After a car accident, no matter how severe, it is a stressful event. The shock of being in a car accident has us not thinking clearly, our adrenaline pumping, and our heart racing. We have seen all kinds of mistakes clients and other people have made following a car crash over our sixty years of handling cases of car accidents in New Orleans, car accidents in Metairie, and accidents all over the state of Louisiana.
Here are the top five mistakes to avoid after a car crash:
1. Not Calling the Police. Even if you are not injured in an accident, it is a good idea to call the police and document it even if everyone seems to agree on how the car accident happened. We have had too many cases where everyone agrees how a car accident occurred, and then the other driver later denies an accident occurred at all when our clients attempt to just get their property damage paid. Calling the police, even if it is inconvenient, allows for a record to be made of an accident so that you are protected from problems later on.
2. Skipping a Doctor Visit. After a car crash, it is common to be in shock and not realize that your body is in pain. Many of our clients ignore or minimize symptoms they experience after an accident – sometimes for months! It is important to get checked out after an accident to make sure you do not have a severe injury and to get instructions and medications you may need to start the rehabilitation process.
3. Settling with the Insurance Company. Insurance companies will call you after an accident to try to settle your case, which may be tempting. We have seen cases after a serious car crash where the insurance adjuster will call people multiple times a day. The reason is that their goal is to get you to settle your case early before you understand the extent of your injury because once you settle, they are off the hook even if it is determined your injury is extremely severe from the car crash. There is no rush to settle with an insurance company. In Louisiana, you have one year before you have to file a lawsuit after an accident. The most important thing following an accident is not to negotiate compensation with the insurance company, but to make sure you are ok and to do that on your own time.
4. Not Consulting an Attorney Early. If you believe you were injured in an car crash or an accident with an 18-wheeler, it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The earlier an attorney gets involved in your case, the more likely that important evidence, like photographs, property damage claims, witnesses, video footage, and documents will be preserved, which could be essential for your case.
5. Not Consulting the Right Attorney. By far, after a car crash, this is the largest mistake we see people make. People will spend an hour online researching the best restaurant to get a catfish dish, but spend only a minute before calling an attorney to help them after a car accident with an injury claim! If you turn on the television, you know that there are too many attorneys out there that want to take your car accident case. But, what is difficult to sort out is what attorneys actually have experience litigating these cases and what attorneys care about YOU and not just your claim. We have seen people who have serious claims after a car crash have those claims lost or messed up by an attorney who just did not have the knowledge or experience to take on a case even though their advertisements or websites implied that they did. We even wrote a blog about the top five things we see personal injury attorneys doing wrong: https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/blog/what-is-my-lawyer-doing-wrong. It is important to find the best lawyer for you and interview him or her about her experience and it is ok to do that.
The attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer have been working on car accident and trucking accident cases for 60 years. The secret to our continued success in this city is that we know the law and we care about our clients, not just their cases. Almost all of our cases come from referrals from former clients who were happy with how we treated them and our results and reviews speak for themselves: https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/case-results. We are happy to give you a free consultation on an accident claim and give you as long as you need to ask us any and all questions you may have about how we can help you following a car crash.