In the hours, days, and weeks after a motor vehicle accident in Chesapeake, VA, knowing precisely what you should do to ensure that you get the financial compensation you deserve can be unclear. When you are getting treatment from a doctor, scheduling surgeries and follow-up appointments, and trying to figure out how to pay your bills when you cannot work, the prospect of filing an insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit can feel difficult or even impossible. Yet car accident victims often make mistakes in that initial period after a crash that can affect their ability to be compensated later on. At Barney Injury Law, we want to make sure you avoid common errors after a car accident. The following are ten mistakes you should avoid after a motor vehicle collision in Chesapeake, VA.
Admitting Fault to the Insurance Company (or to Anyone Else)
If you admit fault to the insurance company or to anyone else, you could be barred from obtaining compensation in a claim because of Virginia’s contributory negligence law. To be sure, if you need to file a lawsuit in order to seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver, you will be barred from recovery if the court determines that you are even 1 percent at fault for the collision.
Failing to Gather Evidence at the Scene of the Crash
Your lawyer will need evidence to prove that the other driver is at fault and that you are entitled to compensation. If you fail to gather evidence at the scene of the crash, such as photographs documenting the scene, it can be much more difficult for an accident reconstruction expert to prove your version of events.
Forgetting to Obtain Contact Information for Anyone Involved in the Collision or Anyone Who Witnessed It
After a collision, your lawyer will need to obtain information from witnesses and others involved in the accident. If you forget to get contact information, it may be difficult or even impossible to track down those parties.
Waiting Too Long to See a Doctor
Remember that we just said Virginia’s contributory negligence law can bar you from recovery if you are even 1 percent to blame for your own injuries? If you wait too long to see a doctor, the at-fault party might argue that your injuries worsened due to your own negligence. As such, the at-fault driver could argue that you should be barred from recovery because of contributory negligence.
Trying to Negotiate with the Insurance Company Without a Lawyer
You should never attempt to negotiate with any insurance company on your own. You should have an aggressive Chesapeake auto accident attorney on your side who has years of experience negotiating with insurers and obtaining fair settlements for injury victims.
Waiting Too Long to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
You should contact a Virginia car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. Waiting too long might result in the insurance company taking advantage of you, or your attorney losing the opportunity to obtain valuable evidence to support your case.
Forgetting to File a Lawsuit Before the Clock Runs Out
Most car accident lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations in Virginia (Code of Va. § 8.01-243). If you wait too long to file, you could end up with a time-barred claim and could lose out on the compensation you would otherwise be entitled to receive.
Assuming the Insurance Company is On Your Side
Drivers in Virginia are required to have auto insurance under Virginia’s auto insurance laws, but it would be an enormous mistake to assume that your insurance company is on your side. Even if you have been a loyal customer for years or longer, you need to remember that the insurance company is a business. It will not advocate for you, and it does not have your best interests in mind.
Talking About the Accident on Social Media
When you talk about the car accident on social media, you could say something—or post an image of something—that suggests you are partially to blame. The at-fault driver may see this and use it against you.
Forgetting to Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Even if you are going to file a third-party claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your own insurance company will still require you to report the accident. Do not forget to do this. If you do, you could limit your options for compensation.
Contact a Chesapeake, Virginia Car Accident Attorney
It is important to do everything you can to avoid making a mistake after a car accident that could prevent you from obtaining the financial compensation you deserve. Car crash claims can be complicated, especially when you must move from the process of filing an auto insurance claim to filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to recover damages. At Barney Injury Law, our aggressive Chesapeake car accident lawyers want to ensure that you do not make a mistake that could affect the outcome of your claim. We can get started on your case as soon as you get in touch with our firm. Contact Barney Injury Law today for more information.