Two Common Pitfalls to Avoid If You Have Been Injured in a Car Collision
Pitfall 1 — Settlement Check
NEVER accept a settlement check from the insurance carrier immediately following a motor vehicle collision.
- Emotions can be intense and normal understanding and reason can be easily disturbed immediately after a car crash
- Victims who have been injured are routinely frustrated, angered, and, more importantly, vulnerable
Often times, only days after a car crash, sometimes even hours, insurance companies will present an unreasonable settlement offer (usually in the amount of $500) to the fault-free injured party. In exchange for this nominal offer, the insurance company requires you to execute a Release and waive any and all rights against the at-fault party.
NEVER submit to this immediate and coerced offer. Following a traumatic event, such as an automobile incident, emotions and anger frequently cloud reasonable judgment. Typically, at the time of the insurance company’s unreasonable offer, the victim is not aware of the nature or extent of his/her injuries, the medical bills that will be incurred or the treatment that will be necessitated to address said injuries. The diagnosis, prognosis and injury are usually impossible to ascertain days following the incident – especially if the injured party has not seen a licensed physician yet. Thus, the $500 “quick” settlement offer is not worth it, despite any financial need or dire situation at that particular time.
Always consult a reputable and well-respected attorney prior to contemplating a settlement offer.
Pitfall 2 — Leaving the Scene
NEVER leave the scene without exchanging insurance information – even if you do not feel any pain – following a car wreck.
- Just because there is no immediate pain, does not mean there will be no delayed of future pain
- Humans are very complicated organisms and responses to traumatic injuries may vary greatly among individuals
This is more important than ever in Las Vegas, NV because Metropolitan Police Department currently has a policy where they are not investigating “non-injury” automobile incidents. This is exceptionally problematic. Unfortunately, as we all know, it is not always crystal clear whether someone has been hurt or suffered an injury at the time of the incident. If the police fails to investigate the car wreck, it can often times be difficult for a party to prove their case in court years later if there is no “paper trail.” Remember, irrespective of how minor or major a collision may be, always exchange insurance information, and gather as much information as possible (i.e. photographs, driver license, witnesses contacts). Always be sure to document any and all details as it relates to the car crash.
By: C. Jared Clark, Esq.