To avoid damaging your potential Ohio auto accident claim, you need to know what not to say and what not to do when an accident occurs. In many cases, knowing what not to do is more helpful than knowing what to do. At the Chester Law Group, we can help you when it comes to knowing what to do after an accident. Yet, if you don’t know what not to do – and what not to say – you might damage your claim before we have a chance to give this advice.
What Not To Say After an Ohio Auto Accident
Ohio is known for being populated by friendly and charming people who will go out of their way to help you out when you are in need. Thus, it is not surprising that many Ohioans make the mistake of being too friendly and forgiving after an auto accident, to the point that they may even damage their potential auto accident claim. While you may wish to eliminate as much of the stress of your circumstances as possible, to make sure that the other driver is unharmed, and to be kind and considerate of their feelings, it is important to ensure that the following words never leave your mouth in the aftermath of an Ohio auto accident.
I’m Sorry – An apology, no matter how right it seems in the moment, is one of the most common mistakes that people make after an auto accident in Ohio. Even if you know that the accident wasn’t your fault, you might be inclined to apologize, out of a sort of habit or sense of etiquette for when things go wrong. You might only be empathizing with another driver’s injuries, property damage, or fear; but your words can be taken to imply fault.
I’m All Right – This is something people often say to reassure themselves and the other driver after an Ohio auto accident. The accident is frightening and it shakes you up. When the vehicles stop moving and you have a moment to realize that you are still alive and appear to be mostly uninjured, you might say this without even thinking about it. Yet, you may actually be injured. Even if your injury isn’t life threatening or terribly traumatic, and even you really think that you are all right, in the moment, you might be harming your claim for damages that you’ll need to pursue once the extent of your injuries has been ascertained.
Don’t Worry – This another common phrase on the lips of those who have just been in an Ohio auto accident, and it can also damage your potential claim. This phrase is also frequently followed by not exchanging information, and going your separate ways as if nothing happened. This is a bad idea. You may not know the extent of your damages or injuries immediately after the accident, especially if it seems like a minor accident. Always exchange information and don’t tell the other driver that they have nothing to worry about.
What Not To Do After an Ohio Auto Accident
Beyond knowing what not to say after an Ohio auto accident, you also need to know what not to do. The following actions should be avoided entirely to protect your rights and your claim.
Skipping Medical Care – If your auto accident was minor and you think that you aren’t injured or that your injuries are not bad enough to require attention, then you may be tempted to skip seeking medical care. This is a big mistake. For one thing, you might have injuries that you aren’t yet aware of or that aren’t presenting symptoms yet, but will later. These injuries will grow worse without treatment, and you will find it difficult to prove that they were caused by the auto accident if you wait too long to seek medical care.
Making a Statement to an Insurance Company – You can expect to be contacted by your insurance company or the insurance company of the at fault driver soon after the auto accident. They will want you to make a statement. They may want to record it. You should not do this, no matter how polite they seem or how much pressure they may put on you to do so. It is very simple to avoid this by saying that you will need to talk to your attorney before you can provide a statement or comment on the accident.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer – It is also quite common for an insurance company to offer you a settlement soon after the accident. In the moment, it might seem like quite a lot of money, and much needed, especially if you’re facing medical expenses and time off work from your injuries. Yet, until you’ve had the chance to accurately calculate your expenses and losses, you don’t know what an appropriate settlement amount should be. The insurance companies are well known for trying to get you to settle early and for as little money as possible. Once you accept a settlement, you can’t go back later for more, when you realize that it should have been much higher. The first settlement offer is likely to be many thousands of dollars less than what you need to cover your medical care, time off work, and property damage. You should always talk to an Ohio auto accident lawyer before accepting any settlement offer.
What to Do After an Ohio Auto Accident
Now that we’ve covered what not to say and what not to do after an Ohio auto accident, let’s discuss what you should do.
Exchange Information – Be sure to get the contact information and insurance information of the other driver and give them this information for yourself as well.
Collect Evidence – Taking photographs and getting the contact information of witnesses are both good ways to ensure that there is adequate evidence of how the accident occurred.
Seek Medical Treatment – Even if you think you are not injured, seek a full medical evaluation as soon as possible after the auto accident.
Contact an experienced Cincinnati, Ohio Auto Accident Attorney – An Ohio auto accident attorney, like those at the Chester Law Group, will be able to give you the advice and guidance that you need to successfully pursue a fair settlement that will compensate your losses.