The moments after a vehicle collision are chaotic and confusing. You’re in shock, you’re not sure how badly you're hurt, and you’re scared that the other driver will be angry and aggressive. You're sure the crash wasn't your fault, but you're not prepared for a confrontation.
In these first moments after impact, it’s difficult to keep your wits about you and not say or do something you shouldn’t.
However, if you understand how certain actions could jeopardize your chances at a fair recovery, you might be more successful at avoiding them. At Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, we want to provide you with access to all the information you need to protect your rights when you're injured in a vehicle crash that wasn’t your fault.
But Massachusetts Is a No-Fault State!
Many people believe that being in a no-fault insurance state means it doesn’t matter who caused the crash or what you do or say at the scene of the accident because your insurance is going to have to pay for everything anyway. This is Mistake #1.
If your medical bills will exceed $2,000, or you'll be permanently disabled because of your injuries, you can recover damages from the other driver’s insurance company if he's clearly at fault. However, you'll have to build a strong claim, and that starts at the scene of the accident.
Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Once you secure the services of a personal injury lawyer to take over your case, you'll no longer have to worry about doing the wrong thing. However, it can take several days for a lawyer to get involved, and many mistakes can be made during that time.
Here’s what we want you to avoid:
- Admitting fault. Back to the chaotic aftermath of a crash—it can be hard not to apologize or admit fault when the other driver confronts you. Saying something as simple as “I didn’t see you!” could come back to haunt you if you try to hold that driver responsible for your injuries. It's best not to say anything to the other driver.
- Not calling the police. If you're physically able, the first thing you should do is call the police. Don't let the other driver talk you out of it. Wait for the police to arrive and then give your statement only to them. They'll get contact and insurance information from the other driver and file an accident report, which you can get a copy of later. Leaving the scene without filing a police report will make your claim much harder—if not impossible.
- Not documenting evidence. Again, if you're able, take pictures with your phone of your car, the other car, the surrounding area, and yourself at the scene. This may end up being the only evidence you have of what happened. The police report is another piece of evidence you want to make sure to have.
- Not seeing a doctor. If you were seriously injured in the crash, you may be taken from the scene in an ambulance and have no choice in this. However, if you’re able to walk away, you should go straight to your doctor or an urgent care center for a full medical evaluation. This provides medical documentation of the extent of your injuries.
- Talking to an insurance adjuster. Other than reporting to your insurance company that the accident happened, you shouldn't discuss the accident any further. You don’t want to be talked into accepting a settlement less than your injuries are worth. Leave the communication and negotiation with insurance adjusters to your attorney.
If this all sounds stressful, just remember that as soon as you find a lawyer to represent you, they will take over and you can focus on what really matters—your recovery.
Our Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Will Fight for Your Compensation
At Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, we have experienced and aggressive motor vehicle accident lawyers standing by to take your case. The insurance companies know that we have no fear of going to court—in fact, we excel at fighting for our clients in the courtroom. If an insurance company or opposing attorney isn't making a fair offer, we have no hesitation filing suit and litigating your case. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation, and we'll get back to you promptly.