When you incur injuries in a crash, you need to think carefully before every action and statement. Your behavior could negatively impact your case and cost you your compensation. If you have a Billings car accident lawyer at the scene, you have nothing to worry about. However, when you are on your own, you should do everything in your power to look out for these mistakes to avoid.
5 Mistakes to Avoid in the Absence of Your Billings Auto Accident Attorney
1. Leaving the Scene of the Accident
If your injuries do not seem severe, you may be tempted to leave the scene of the accident and forget about everything. By doing that, you would not only be breaking the law but also compromising your right to compensation.
The applicable law, in this case, is Montana Code § 61-7-103 (2017). According to it, any driver involved in an accident should stop at the scene or as close as possible. MT Code section 61-7-105 requires that you provide your contact, insurance, and driving information and assist the injured.
Failing to comply with these obligations could expose you to penalties and even imprisonment. It will also prevent you from obtaining the information you need in order to seek compensation for your injuries. Finally, you could miss out on evidence that is important to your case and even be blamed for the accident.
2. Neglecting to Gather Information
Just as you have to provide information to the other parties, they are required to provide it to you. Once the accident has occurred, those other parties represent the defendant to your claim and potential witnesses.
Therefore, find out who they are, where they live, get their insurance and driving details, etc. Write everything down, and provide the information to your Billings car accident attorney when you consult one. They will know what to do with it.
3. Failing to Report the Accident
Drivers involved in accidents resulting in injuries or property damages of over $1,000 should report the event. The authorities in such cases are the local police department (in-town accidents) and the Highway Patrol (out-of-town accidents).
If they do not send a law enforcement officer to investigate, a written accident report is required. You should file it within 10 days from the accident, with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division. Failure to report accidents brings about penalties. Moreover, the report is among the most important pieces of evidence in a case.
4. Neglecting to Gather Evidence
Assuming you have complied with the above duties and your condition allows it, you should always gather evidence. As an accident victim, you have the right to be compensated for your losses. However, your access to compensation will depend on your ability to prove all losses.
The accident scene usually provides the most valuable evidence. Common examples of accident scene evidence include:
- The position of the vehicles
- The readings on the speedometer
- Fuel leaks
- Braking marks
- Car damages, etc.
You should document those with photos and videos. Also, look for nearby cameras that may have recorded the accident and get copies of their footage. In order to obtain compensation for your injuries, you will need to prove not only your losses but also the liability of the other party.
Speaking of injuries, you should document those too, by undergoing a medical exam. Hold on to the reports and doctor prescriptions, as those, too, represent important pieces of evidence. Your Billings auto accident lawyer will need them in order to get you the compensation you deserve.
5. Talking without Thinking and Signing without Reading
The stress and adrenaline rush following an accident make it difficult to focus. Insurance agents know that and often try to take advantage. They may provoke you to apologize or admit fault or ask you to sign right waivers. Sometimes, they even offer early settlements for derisory amounts.
You should keep to yourself and tell them you reserve the right to consult a car accident lawyer. If they ask you to sign any documents, read them carefully and keep copies. The best strategy is to actually avoid signing anything until you consult a lawyer.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Billings, Montana, Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible!
Even if you have avoided the above mistakes and gathered the necessary evidence, obtaining compensation by yourself could be challenging. Let an experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyer in Billings help you! Call Joe Frick Law at 406-534-7694 and schedule a consultation now! We will provide the information and assistance you need!