Traffic accidents can be confusing and stressful. On top of the costs of the incident, they often require people to deal with complex structures that they do not usually need to, like the police and insurance agencies. Statistics reported by Forbes assert that people will be in an average of three to four car accidents over the course of their lives. That makes it important for everyone to understand what not to say after an accident, both in their report to the police and in their discussions with insurance companies.
Right After the Accident
After an accident, the police will likely require a statement of all involved the drivers. Here it is important to understand things to avoid saying. The most important thing to understand is to avoid lying. Lies can be difficult to continue and are often more costly than the truth. Drivers are seldom the only witness, not to mention the potential for objective forms of evidence like traffic cameras. If nothing else, a lie on a police report can damage a person’s credibility in court.
However, there is a difference between lying and providing more information than is possible. For instance, many people say that they are not hurt at the scene of an accident. Yet, serious injuries can often take days, weeks, even months to manifest. People at the scene of the accident can be hurt without even knowing it. Similarly, people at the scene of the accident often admit fault or apologize. However, determining fault is a complex legal decision. Accidents are chaotic things with many possible causes. Drivers involved in an accident cannot know moments later whether they were the one at fault.
Talking to an Insurance Company
These same rules apply when talking to insurance companies, but there is another important thing to consider. Insurance companies often want to discuss settlement. People have the authority to settle their own legal claims virtually at any time. This means that an insurance company can call someone up after they have been the victim of an accident and get them to agree to a settlement. Once a case has been settled like that it cannot be reopened. Consequently, it is important for people who have an accident claim to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This is particularly true because insurance companies who see an accident victim with a strong claim will often call early in an attempt to settle for a low amount before the person has had the chance to talk to an attorney.
Dealing with courts, police, and insurance companies can be a stressful and unfamiliar experience. Fortunately, accident victims do not have to do it alone. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact a Phoenix personal injury attorney today to learn more about your options. The legal professionals at the Thompson Law Firm, LLC are here to help.