If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you could suffer far more serious injuries than if you were the driver or passenger in a motor vehicle accident. Fortunately, since you weren't at fault, you may be able to file a claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
When you must take this step, the last thing you want to do is to make an inadvertent mistake that you later discover weakens your claim and forces you to accept less money in a settlement.
Seven Common Mistakes in Pedestrian Accident Claims
Whenever you file a claim for injuries after a pedestrian accident, you must prove your right to compensation. In the days and weeks following the incident, you may be dealing with injury recovery, on medication, or even still in the hospital. It's often a confusing time. It's easy to make mistakes if you're not sure what to do. Unfortunately, these actions can lessen the value of your claim and jeopardize your rights.
Here are the most common mistakes to avoid:
- Not contacting the police. If you don't do this right away, you may lose important information, such as negligent driver and witness statements, and the attending officer’s conclusion as to the cause of the accident. Not filing a police report can also lead to disputes with the motorist’s insurance company as to whether or not the accident occurred.
- Neglecting medical care. Even if you don't believe you were injured, you need to be checked by a doctor within a day or two after your accident. Certain conditions, such as traumatic brain injury and back and spinal injuries, may not present to the full degree for days or longer after the incident. By seeing a doctor right away, you avoid jeopardizing your health and debating with an insurance adjuster regarding the cause of your injuries.
- Not taking pictures. If at all possible, take pictures of the accident scene, any damage to the vehicle that hit you, and your injuries right after your accident. If you're unable to do this, ask a family member or friend. This compelling evidence shows how the accident occurred and how serious it was, so you want to make sure you document everything.
- Forgetting contact information. You should obtain contact information for the negligent driver, his or her insurance company, and any witnesses for the accident. This is especially true for witnesses who the police may not talk to and whose information may be lost if you do not obtain it immediately.
- Agreeing to a recorded statement. A recorded statement is a question and answer session between you and the insurance adjuster and transcribed into a written documentation that can be used in court hearings. You're not required to agree to give a recorded statement, and it's almost never a good idea to agree to this. You could inadvertently say something that you don't mean that could hurt your claim. Some adjusters might even try to manipulate you into saying something damaging by asking misleading or confusing questions.
- Settling your claim too soon. You don't want to accept the first settlement offer you receive, because it could be for far less than you deserve. Never agree to settle your claim unless you first obtain advice from an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.
- Not retaining an attorney. It's a mistake not to retain an attorney right after your accident. You may limit his or her ability to investigate your accident. Because he or she has the legal ability to handles such claims, this partnership and guidance helps avoid additional issues that could reduce the amount you ultimately receive in settlement.
Did you make one or more of these mistakes? Fortunately, this hasn't ruined your case. An experienced attorney on our team will have strategies to help rectify the situation. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options and how we can help.