The moments following a car crash are critical for securing maximum compensation for your injuries. This might sound ridiculous, but it’s true. Although you might be struggling in the moments following a crash to make sense of what happened, you could easily make some mistake that undermines your case.
To ensure you set yourself up for success, our Winchester car accident lawyer offers these 3 tips for avoiding mistakes that could come back to bite you. Contact Correll Law Firm for assistance.
NEVER Admit Fault
This is the single worst mistake a person can make following a car accident. Never admit that you are to blame. There is a simple reason for this: Virginia is one of the few states that still allow contributory negligence as a defense.
Under this doctrine, a motorist who is even a little bit at fault for a car accident forfeits their ability to sue for compensation. The law is designed to encourage all motorists to use reasonable care while driving. But it is a very severe rule—even if you are only 1% to blame, you lose out on the ability to receive any money. The majority of states have moved on and relaxed their rules regarding contributory negligence—but not Virginia.
Also, avoid saying anything that could be liberally construed as an admission of fault. Statements like “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you” or “I looked at my phone and suddenly you were in the intersection!” sound like admissions that you weren’t paying attention. An attorney could use these statements to argue you were even a little bit negligent and therefore don’t deserve any money.
Do NOT Fail to Call the Police
Under Virginia Code Section 46.2-371, motorists must report car accidents resulting in bodily injury or death to law enforcement. You can easily do this while at the scene of the crash by calling the police. The responding officer will create a report which is very helpful in car accident cases.
Even if no one appears to be physically hurt, you should still call the police. It is better to be safe than sorry, and there are penalties for failing to report an accident.
AVOID Giving a Recorded Statement
Insurance adjusters love recorded statements for the reason listed above—contributory negligence. They might dig and dig for you to say something that sounds like an admission of fault. When they call, you might be in pain. Some painkillers also cause confusion, and the odds are high you might say something carelessly.
Insurance adjusters also dig for information about the severity of your injuries. They might try to get you to admit that you “feel fine,” which they then use to show you aren’t seriously hurt. It is always best to avoid giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. Instead, your Winchester car accident lawyer will handle all communications for you.
Call Our Law Firm Today
The best thing an accident victim can do following a car crash is to reach out to qualified legal help. Correll Law Firm has represented countless victims like you, and we will gladly review your case in a free consultation. Call 540-535-2005 today to schedule a time to meet.