Being involved in a motor vehicle collision can be confusing and overwhelming, but it is important you know what steps to take so you do not cause yourself more trouble later. There are some critical mistakes to avoid after a car accident in Altoona that could improve your chances of a full physical and financial recovery. The trustworthy Altoona vehicle wreck attorneys at our firm could provide essential guidance to improve your chances of a successful claim.
In order to make a recovery for damages, another person must be proven to be at fault. By apologizing after being involved in a motor vehicle collision in the area, a person may be perceived to be admitting fault.
This can be problematic even if the other driver is obviously in the wrong. Pennsylvania follows the theory of comparative fault, meaning the claimant’s damage award will be reduced by his or her percentage of blame. If a claimant is determined to be 51 percent or more responsible for an accident, he or she cannot recover any compensation.
Since anything you say at the scene of the accident can be used against you, it is often recommended that you do not discuss the wreck aside from exchanging information with the other driver. This includes not apologizing.
A person’s case is valued based upon the nature and extent of his or her injuries, and that is proven through medical records of actual treatment. Any delay in treatment can make it difficult to prove that the pain and injuries were caused by the vehicle wreck and not something else. By seeking prompt medical care, there is evidence (in the form of medical records) that demonstrate the plaintiff was experiencing these symptoms immediately following the collision.
Similarly, any subsequent gaps in treatment, meaning the claimant failed to show up to follow up appointments, can make it difficult to connect those later treatments to the accident. It is also a mistake for someone injured in a car wreck in Altoona to not follow doctor’s orders, as this could be argued as proof that the injuries were not severe.
Speaking to the defendant driver’s insurance company after a car wreck without guidance from an Altoona lawyer is almost always a mistake. Insurance companies can ask very misleading or one-sided questions that can cause a plaintiff to give inaccurate statements.
If these statements are recorded, then there is going to be a written transcript of the conversation which could be used against the plaintiff during settlement negotiations or in trial. It is important to understand they are not required to give a statement to the other party’s insurance company.
Additionally, plaintiffs should not accept checks offered by the defendant’s insurance company without first speaking with their attorney. Often, these checks do not encompass the full extent of the plaintiff’s losses, and accepting a check could prevent an individual from seeking just compensation.
One of the biggest mistakes a person in Altoona can make after being harmed in a vehicle crash is waiting too long to contact an attorney. This is problematic for many reasons, one of which is the loss of key evidence. As time goes on, evidence can become lost, and eyewitnesses may move away or forget details. The sooner a lawyer is contacted, the more he or she can do for a client.
Furthermore, Pennsylvania has a strict two-year time limit to file a civil claim. Failure to meet this legal deadline could result in a case being dismissed, regardless of its merit.
Knowing how to avoid mistakes after a car accident in Altoona could not only help you prevent legal challenges, it could also help you improve your physical and financial recovery. If you or a loved one were harmed in a collision, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance. Contact the office of Marcus & Mack and schedule a free consultation with our reliable team.