The San Francisco Chronicle recently had a very helpful online article in which a local chiropractor explains the five most costly mistakes to make after you've been in a car accident. The article was originally published by Car Crash Pain, an organization that works with accident victims to provide health, legal, and auto insurance information. According to the article, the five most costly mistakes to make post-accident are:
1.) Ignoring or minimizing injuries.
It may take a few months for people to become fully aware of the extent of their injuries. If you are in a car crash, you should receive medical assistance, even if you feel that the injury will heal by itself. According to Car Crash Pain, pain that lasts over 3 months has a 90% change of becoming permanent and developing into chronic pain. Additionally, 50% of all chronic neck pain sufferers attribute their pain to a car accident. Therefore, it is important to treat pain symptoms as soon as possible.
2.) Believing that the car insurance company is on your side.
Insurance companies often look to settle claims at the lowest possible amount as soon as possible. Don't settle for less if you feel that you are not getting sufficient compensation for your injuries.
3.) Accepting a settlement without fully understanding your rights.
If you are planning on negotiating a settlement as a result of injury from a car accident, it is important to research and find a lawyer that will fight for you. You may possibly also be eligible for compensation not only for your medical bills, but also lost wages, and pain and suffering (although these things are not a guarantee). Being aware of your rights is important before settling a claim.
4.) Choosing the wrong auto body repair shop.
Repair estimates vary greatly between auto body repair shops. You have the right to choose who fixes your vehicle; you don't have to choose the shop with the lowest estimate or one that the insurance company recommended to you.
5.) Becoming overwhelmed by paperwork and deadlines.
According to the article, "automobile accidents come with a flood of paperwork that needs to be completed in a timely manner. This can include everything from police reports and insurance forms to medical documentation. If forms are not filled out on time, you could miss out on a full range of benefits and end up having to pick up the costs on your own." Be aware of deadlines and stay organized to keep records of all paperwork involving your accident. You should bring this paperwork to your meetings with your attorney as well.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in western and central Pennsylvania. He has successfully litigated cases involving motor vehicle accidents as well as cases involving serious brain injuries. For more information on him and his firm, please click here.