Car accidents can be physically jarring, not to mention psychologically frightening experiences, and the actions taken in the immediate aftermath of such events can prove pivotal to an injured party's chances of receiving compensation from those responsible. Just as accident victims need to be aware of the steps they should take following a crash, it is similarly important that motorists familiarize themselves with what they should not do in the moments, days and weeks after their collision. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is prepared to guide clients injured in auto accidents through the process of gathering key evidence, asserting their rights and getting on the path to real recovery.
Do Not Flee the Scene of an Accident
While it is natural to feel a sense of confusion and perhaps even panic following a car crash, it is critical that all parties involved remain at the scene until law enforcement officials arrive. The Colorado legislature has imposed upon drivers a duty to stop following any accident involving injuries or property damage, and failing to do so may yield criminal liability in addition to seriously undermining any subsequent claim for damages. Instead, drivers should contact the police and wait patiently for assistance to reach the scene. Not only will this facilitate the dispatch of medical responders when needed, it will result in the generation of a police report which can prove essential to establishing responsibility for the crash.
Do Not Allow Emotions to Take Over
Again, the moments following a car accident are almost always highly charged, with emotions running hot. However, it is extremely unwise to let feelings get the best of the situation in a way which ultimately compromises a claim for compensation. Drivers should never utter audible apologies, admissions of fault or expressions of regret. It is far better for the professionals to assess blame rather than permit a rash statement made in the heat of the moment to cloud the facts. Remaining calm and quiet after a crash event is the best way to preserve future claims and maintain the integrity of the investigation.
Do Not Neglect to Gather Available Documentation
The more documentary evidence that is available in an injury claim, the stronger the chances of success. Therefore, it really does pay for victims to gather as much proof of what occurred as they can, even before they depart the scene. If a camera is handy, it is wise to snap pictures of the crash scene, the road conditions and the damage sustained. Jotting down key details such as the time, date, license plate numbers of involved vehicles and other facts can help decision makers reconstruct events later on. Whenever possible, it is extremely helpful to talk with eyewitnesses, obtain their impressions and write down their contact information. Making the effort to secure this type of information now, even though it can be difficult, can make a substantial difference in the eventual amount of recovery available.
Never Fail to Seek and Receive Necessary Medical Treatment
Auto accident victims are often surprised by the fact that crashes which seemed fairly minor at the time they occurred can, in fact, produce significant injuries. For this reason, it is of critical importance that those involved in collisions do not fail to seek and obtain the medical treatment they need and to follow through on all courses of therapy prescribed. In some cases, the true extent of the harm sustained will not become apparent for days, weeks or even months after a crash, and therefore it is vital that a comprehensive evaluation is done to assess the victim's condition. Once treatment has commenced, the injured party must not neglect the task of building a strong record of the expenses incurred, treatments undergone, the diagnostic test performed and the like. The more voluminous the documentation is, the more effective the case that can ultimately be made for compensation.
Do Not Engage in Settlement Talks Early On
Make no mistake, representatives of an at-fault driver's insurance carrier are not in the business of helping victims obtain maximum monetary recovery. Their motivation is to negotiate settlement of claims for the lowest dollar amount they possibly can, whether or not that is in the best interest of the person harmed. As such, it is generally unwise for an accident victim to engage in serious settlement discussions with an insurance adjuster without the advice and counsel of an experienced injury attorney. Insurance carriers are certain to employ all sorts of techniques and tricks designed to persuade the unwary or inexperienced into accepting far less than the amount they deserve. A seasoned auto accident lawyer can assume the role of negotiator, keep the carrier honest and fight for fair payment of claims.
Never Sign a Release of Claims Prematurely
Auto accidents can throw the lives of entire families into disarray, leaving them with a number of difficult and inconvenient tasks to handle all at once. As a result, it can sometimes be tempting for victims to agree to sign a release of claims in exchange for a swift financial settlement provided to them by the at-fault party's insurer. However, this is an extremely risky proposition and one which should be avoided without the assistance of an injury attorney. Releases constitute a permanent waiver of the right to pursue additional claims stemming from a crash, even those which arise into the future. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that victims often fail to recognize the true dollar value of their injuries or the expenses that will mount going forward, prematurely forfeiting their ability to recover compensation for them.
Do Not Attempt to Go it Alone
When an injury accident occurs, victims often feel completely overwhelmed by the physical pain, emotional trauma, unanticipated expenses and protracted haggling with insurance companies. This perceived loss of control all too often leads injured parties to settle for less than they need, simply for the purpose of bringing the matter to an end. However, there is no need for Colorado accident victims to cede their right to receive fair payment for the damages they have sustained. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is ready and willing to amass crucial evidence, construct persuasive arguments and engage in aggressive negotiations on behalf of each client he serves. To discover the ways in which you can benefit from zealous advocacy he provides, contact us at 303.825.2223.