Forget Your Manners: Don’t Say You’re Sorry After an Accident and Other Post-Accident Tips

Crash-lawyer for traffic accidents
Failing to consult with a lawyer for traffic accidents may be the single biggest mistake you can make.

Being involved in a car accident is scary and stressful, making it difficult to remember all the steps you must take to protect your interests. However, after a wreck, knowing what you should not do is often more important than knowing what you should do. It is easy to do or say something that could inadvertently hurt your chances of receiving a fair settlement for any injuries you might have suffered in the crash. Saying you are sorry is a natural instinct. But, when it comes to a car accident, it can be one of the worst things you can do. An experienced lawyer for traffic accidents explains this and other mistakes that could negatively affect the outcome of your personal injury case.

Driving Away from the Scene

Even if a traffic accident appears minor without any obvious injuries, never leave the scene without contacting local law enforcement. Checking on the welfare of the other people involved and exchanging insurance information is polite and in your best interest. However, not contacting the nearest law enforcement agency is against the law. It is a crime in Nevada to willfully fail to report an accident to the police and could result in your driver’s license being suspended for up to one year. Call 311 to report non-injury accidents and 911 for accidents with serious or life-threatening injuries

Failing to File a Police Report

Never allow anyone involved in the accident to talk you out of filing a police report. Not having a police report can severely hamper your personal injury case. This is because the report proves without any doubt the accident occurred and provides vital details needed to file an insurance or other claim for compensation. The investigating officer completes the police report, which is a summary of the collision. It contains both facts and the officer’s opinions regarding the accident and typically includes:

  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • Identifying information of all parties involved
  • Witness information
  • Statements from all parties and witnesses
  • Opinion on how the accident occurred
  • Opinion on who was at fault
  • Accident diagrams and photos
  • Citation information
  • Weather, lighting and roadway conditions
  • Injury information
  • Documentation of visible vehicle damage

Las Vegas Metro police stopped responding to non-injury traffic accidents in March 2014, but the agency began responding to all accidents again in January 2016, following a sales tax rate increase to cover hiring more officers. Obtain a copy of your police report from the Records Department at 400 South Martin Luther King Blvd, Building C in Las Vegas. Since Nevada law requires you to immediately report any accident involving injury or property damage, you might not be able to pursue a personal injury claim without it.

Saying You Are Sorry

Saying you are sorry following a car crash is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. This may be construed as an admission of guilt, which can be used against you later. Even if you are just trying to be polite, apologetic words or behavior implies you are assuming fault for the accident; when you may not be to blame at all. Insurance adjusters jump on any statement that admits liability to avoid paying your claim. Instead of saying sorry, simply ask everyone if they are okay and leave it at that.

Accepting Blame at the Scene

Emotions are high after an accident and the other driver may be angry and accusing you of causing it. Just because the other driver has convinced themselves that you are at fault, does not make it so. Even if you think you may have caused the accident, keep this opinion to yourself. There may be other factors in the case that you are not yet aware of that places the blame elsewhere. Until all the facts are reported, never admit liability of any kind to anybody. This is true whether you are talking to other people involved in the accident, police officers or insurance adjusters. If you tell someone the accident was your fault, you are legally admitting liability. This exposes you to a lawsuit and hurts your own claim for compensation.

Social media lawyer for traffic accidents

Talk About Your Accident/Injuries On Social Media

Not only should you watch what you say in person, you should also watch what you say online. Social media posts can be used against you and destroy your personal injury case. An experienced lawyer for traffic accidents often advises clients to shut down or delete their social media accounts until settling their case. This prevents them from divulging details about their accident or medical condition online that could undermine their case later.

Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers look for anything to build a case against you. And they have no qualms about keeping tabs on you through social media. Posting information that contradicts your claim or pictures of you having fun when you are supposed to be seriously injured weaken your credibility. Setting your page to private does not necessarily protect you and even innocent postings or pictures can be twisted to give the insurance company the ammunition they need to lower or even deny your settlement.

Failing to Get Medical Care

Even minor injuries may be more serious than you think, and by the time you realize how bad they are, it could be too late. Misjudging the seriousness of your injuries is a common mistake that could sabotage your claim. It is important to seek a medical diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. If you require medical treatment, never skip doctor appointments and take all prescribed medications. Document your treatment thoroughly to avoid giving the insurance company any reason to claim you did not really sustain serious injuries.

Also, just like not saying you are sorry, never say you are okay immediately after the accident. It could take hours or even days before your injuries become apparent. Insurance companies use earlier statements in which you indicated you were fine, to downplay the severity of any ailments that arise later and get out of paying you what you deserve.

Delay Filing a Claim

Insurance companies require you to file accident claims within a specified time period, which could be just a few days. It is vital to register your insurance claim quickly and submit all paperwork in a timely manner to ensure you meet their deadline.

If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit, Nevada’s statute of limitations only gives you two years from the date of the accident to pursue a civil claim. Barring any mitigating circumstances, such as the Discovery Rule, filing after this deadline generally leads to dismissal of your case. Lawsuits for vehicle or other property damage has a three-year statute of limitation.

Because Nevada is a modified comparative negligence state, the amount of your damages is reduced by the percentage at which you are held at fault for the accident. However, if a judge decides you are equally or more responsible for the accident, you cannot recover any compensation under Nevada law.

paperwork lawyer for traffic accidents

Giving Insurance Adjusters a Recorded Statement

Always be careful what you tell insurance adjusters, because they may try to use it against you later. They often want to speak to you on the record about what occurred, while looking for any reason to deny your claim. Do not talk about fault or your injuries, or better yet, do not talk to them at all. While you must speak to your own insurance company, you are not under any legal obligation to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. If you do talk to them, they will likely try to use anything you say against you. The best way to deal with an insurance company without risking your claim is to hire a lawyer for traffic accidents to communicate with them on your behalf.

Believing Everything They Tell You

Blindly trusting an insurance company is also one of the biggest mistakes you can make. No matter how friendly an insurance adjuster seems, they are not your friend. Their job is to save the company money by limiting the amount paid on your claim or finding a way to deny it altogether. Never take anything an insurance adjuster might tell you at face value. They are notorious for using scare tactics, such as attempting to make you believe their initial offer is all you are going to get, and you can either take it or receive nothing. This amount is often a fraction of your actual expenses. The best way to combat these strategies is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.

Settling for Less Than You Deserve

An insurance company sometimes tries to settle with you quickly. A quick settlement may sound good when you need money fast to cover your medical bills or replace your vehicle, but it may not cover your expenses in the long run. Settling your case early is usually only good for the insurance company and often saves them money. Do not make the mistake of settling too quickly and accepting less money than you deserve. Fast settlements are rarely full settlements and once you settle, you cannot reopen your case.

Disregard Hiring a Lawyer for Traffic Accidents

In a wreck? Need a check?™ Failing to consult with a lawyer for traffic accidents may be the single biggest mistake you can make. If you have been in an accident, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys. Our personal injury attorneys will bring experience, skill, and passion to your case. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Visit our office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, use our convenient online LiveChat feature, or call us at 844-977-1900 anytime 24/7.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.