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Common Mistakes in Auto Accident Cases

The most common mistakes are not calling the police, not seeking out medical treatment right away, and not taking photos of any damage to either of the vehicles. The longer a person waits to document something, such as property damage or their own injuries, the harder it is to prove that the damage or the injuries were caused by the accident. If a person doesn’t take a picture of the dent in their car because it’s nighttime and they don’t see that it has happened, but then they look at it a couple of days later, they might be surprised by the amount of property damage. It is going to be hard for them to say that their car was damaged in an accident that happened a week ago if they didn’t take any pictures that day. If a person doesn’t go to the doctor right away even though they feel sore and are in pain, when they try to link those injuries to the accident, one of the first things the insurance company or the defense attorney will say is, “Well, how do I know that something else didn’t happen to you between the time of the accident and the time that you reported injuries. The more time that goes by between those two events – the time of the accident and the time of seeking medical treatment – the more questions will be raised unnecessarily. People definitely need to document everything, seek treatment for their injuries, and have their property damage taken care of as soon as possible.

How can people avoid making these mistakes?

It’s as simple as calling the police or law enforcement any time someone is involved in an accident, as well as getting the other driver’s information. It takes effort to call the police and it takes effort and it will be an inconvenience to sit around waiting for the police to show up because people have other things to do. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, because it is impossible to know what kind of injuries might develop or what kind of damage the car will show. Taking the time to do these things initially allows people to prevent some of those major problems from developing somewhere down the road.

How does not immediately seeking treatment impact an injury case?

It can severely limit the amount that the person can recover, if they are able to recover anything. It also depends on how long they wait. Three or four days might be acceptable, but after week, ten days, or a month, it’s going to be very difficult to prove that the injury is related to that accident.

If any injury, such as back pain, does not set in until later, what options are available to someone wishing to file a suit?

It depends on how much later the injuries show up, but if someone waits a week or ten days, then it’s like a ticking clock. If a person feels any pain at all, even if it’s not that severe, they should have it checked out by a medical professional. If they have it checked out, then they can have your injuries monitored so they don’t surprise them later as some bigger ailment. The longer someone waits, the harder it will be to prove that the injuries are related to the accident. If they ultimately can’t prove that the injuries are related to the accident, or if something happens between the time of the accident and the time the pain arises – such as a slip and fall or any kind of trauma to the body – that’s going to be the first thing that an insurance company or a defense attorney looks to as the cause of the injury. If the person can’t prove that their injuries are related to the auto accident by medical evidence, i.e. a doctor or hospital report or record, then they are going to be limiting their amount of recovery.