If you’re in a car crash, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed and confused about what happens next. You probably have many questions and few answers.

For example, you might be wondering – how should you respond in the immediate aftermath? What happens if you’re injured, and how do you hold the at-fault party responsible?

It’s important that you know the answers to questions such as these. Otherwise, there’s a risk you could jeopardize a compensation claim down the line. There’s even a chance you could make errors which prevent you from claiming any damages at all!

So, with that in mind, here are seven mistakes you should avoid after a car accident in Visalia.

1. Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident in Visalia

Did you know that leaving the scene of any car crash without reporting it can be a crime in California? Fleeing the scene of a crash is a potentially serious offense with long-term consequences.

Unsure what to do? Always call law enforcement. If there’s even a chance that someone is injured, or there’s property damage, don’t take risks. Exchange information and wait for law enforcement to arrive.

2. Failing to Report the Car Accident

Following on from the above, California has strict reporting requirements for auto crashes. You must report a crash with any injuries or property damage over $1,000. Since it’s hard to determine the extent of damage at the scene, you should report any crash involving damage.

Even if you don’t think anyone is injured, stay on the safe side. If the other party involved turns out to be injured, you could face penalties for fleeing the scene as described above.

Not sure how to report the crash? Our Visalia personal injury lawyers are on hand waiting to assist. But in the meantime, you can call your insurance company right away.

3. Admitting Fault at the Scene

Whatever you do, don’t apologize or say anything which implies blame. Otherwise, you risk being held responsible for the crash even if you’re entirely faultless.

Why is this a problem? Because California is a “fault” state. That’s why auto insurance is mandatory across the state. Whoever is deemed responsible for a crash must compensate for any injuries or damage they cause!

At the scene, keep conversations brief. Exchange driver information and report the accident. Do not get into details with your insurance company. Deciding who caused the crash is a question for lawyers and loss adjusters down the line.

4. Not Seeking Medical Advice

Even if you’re convinced that you’re not seriously injured, always get medical attention. Some injuries – such as brain injuries and internal bleeding – take hours or days to develop. And even minor wounds can spiral into long-term issues such as chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

If you don’t get medical attention at the time, it’s harder to prove that your injuries are linked to the accident. And if someone caused your injuries, they should be held accountable for hurting you.

Look after yourself. Get a doctor’s all-clear after any Visalia car accident.

5. Failing to Gather Evidence

Evidence strengthens your case and helps to ensure that you get the maximum compensation possible. Without evidence, it’s harder to prove, for example, property damage, injuries, or fault.

  • Take pictures or videos at the scene. Capture all property damage and any hazards which contributed to the crash.
  • Get witness details, if available. They can testify in support of your case.
  •  Keep records of losses including wage loss, medical bills, and repair cost estimates.
  • Get a copy of your accident report to submit to insurance companies.
  • Check if there’s dashcam or CCTV footage available.

6. Settling Your Claim Prematurely

Have you received a settlement offer from the insurance company? Don’t accept right away. Chances are, it’s not the best offer you can receive.

Insurers sometimes make lowball offers quickly in the hope of resolving matters. This is especially true if they know you don’t have a lawyer looking after your interests.

Don’t accept an offer without getting legal advice. If you settle prematurely, you won’t be able to claim again later – even if the sum is far less than you deserve.

Judges gavel on table with personal injury car accident lawyer in background

7. Failing to Contact an Attorney

Maybe you don’t feel injured, or you only have minor wounds. Or maybe you just don’t feel like hiring a lawyer is really necessary.

However, it’s always worth contacting a personal injury lawyer after a car crash. This is particularly important if another party is clearly at fault for the crash.

If you don’t hire an attorney, you risk accidentally saying the “wrong” thing and jeopardizing your claim. There’s also a risk you won’t hold the right parties responsible, or you’ll miss critical filing deadlines. 

Don’t leave anything to chance. Give yourself the reassurance you deserve. Call our firm and we’ll explain if you’ll benefit from legal representation.

Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Visalia, CA

There are many reasons why you should hire a car accident injury attorney after a collision. Let us reiterate just why legal representation is so crucial.

  • There are strict time limits for filing compensation claims. For example, you only have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim. Different deadlines may apply for fatal car accidents in Visalia, CA. Hire an attorney to avoid missing deadlines.
  • Visalia car accident attorneys understand how to negotiate insurance claims. They’ll handle the hard work for you while you focus on moving forward.
  • The right personal injury attorney truly cares about what happens in your case. That’s why, at the May Firm, we’re invested in you from the moment you hire us. Your claim is our priority – and we won’t rest until we do all that we can to help you.

Even if you’re unsure whether you need an attorney, there’s no harm in calling to discuss your options.

Free Consultation with Visalia Car Accident Lawyers

The biggest mistake you can make after a Visalia car crash is trying to handle the matter alone. Focus on healing and recovery and let a lawyer advocate on your behalf. Call the May Firm to schedule a meeting with our car accident attorneys.

Every initial consultation is free, and we don’t charge anything unless we win your case! So, there’s nothing to lose by contacting our law firm and discussing the claims process.

To discover if you have a claim after a car crash, call now or complete our contact form. We’ll discuss if you have a case and, if so, what options you have for pursuing your legal rights.