The speed with which you handle your auto accident case determines the outcome of the case. Delays at any stage of the claim process can hurt your case. Here are four specific delays that can hurt your case.
1. Police Notification
You commit a crime if you leave the scene of an auto accident before the police arrive — unless you must do so for medical purposes. If the police don't arrive at the scene, contact them and report the accident as soon as possible. The police will generate an auto accident report that can help with these processes:
- Verifying your auto accident
- Helping trace witnesses and defendants
- Confirming facts about the accident
Immediately reporting your accident helps the police to collect and preserve the relevant information. For example, the witnesses might be long gone if you report your accident days later. Auto insurance companies are also reluctant to process accident claims unaccompanied by police reports.
2. Medical Treatment
A delay in medical treatment can aggravate your injuries. Aggravated injuries might:
- Trigger health complications
- Take longer to heal
- Require costly treatment
- Keep you from work for long periods
All of the above issues will lead to costly damages. The auto accident defender might refuse to pay your entire damages by arguing failure to mitigate damages. You might receive reduced damages if the court agrees with the defendant's claim.
3. Claim Filing
All auto insurance companies require you to report an accident as soon as possible. Some companies even have specific deadlines within which you must report your accident. The insurance company might doubt your claim if you delay.
State laws also specify deadlines, called the statute of limitations, within which auto accident victims must file their claims. With a few exceptions, you will lose your right to file an auto accident lawsuit if you delay and the statute of limitations expires.
4. Accident Investigation
You need to investigate your accident if you plan to file a third-party claim. You need to know things like:
- The contacts and identities of the liable parties
- The contacts and identities of the witnesses
- The cause of the accident (don't make any assumptions here)
- The evidence for the accident
The evidence trail might run cold if you delay your accident investigation. For example, you may need to canvas the area around the accident scene to get surveillance video footage from nearby businesses. However, if you delay, the business owners might erase or tape over the footage before you arrive.
As you can see, you need to move first if you intend to file an auto accident claim. You can also help your case by consulting an auto accident injury lawyer, such as Borbi Clancy Patrizi, LLC, as soon as possible. The lawyer will see to it that there is no delay in your case.