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    What Documents You Must Avoid Signing after a Car Accident

    After a car accident, you are in shock and unable to decide what you need to do. At this point, the other driver may take advantage of your state of mind and try to make you commit various mistakes that may hurt your case, such as leaving the accident scene without reporting it. 

    As a person of common sense, you know you cannot do this. Likewise, do not sign any document before discussing your case with a Philadelphia car accident lawyer. These, in particular, are the types of documents you must never sign, despite pressure to do so:

    A Private Settlement with the Other Driver

    The other driver may have serious reasons to avoid getting the police involved in a car accident. They may be driving a stolen car. They may be uninsured. At any rate, if the other driver offers to give you money and tells you to sign a private settlement, refuse adamantly.

    For one, failure to report a traffic accident resulting in bodily injury and at least $1,000 in damages is against the law. Also, you are not fully aware of the extent of your damages. The slight pain in your chest may not be just the aftermath of shock, but a broken rib. Healing from that kind of injury alone may cost you five times the money you got from the driver.

    A Settlement Offer Made by the Insurance Adjuster

    The next offer to settle your car accident claim will come from the other driver’s insurance company. Insurers often send an adjuster to your hospital room, in order to take advantage of your vulnerable state.

    The adjuster will appear sympathetic and friendly and make it seem as if they’re doing you a favor by offering a quick settlement. In reality, that offer will barely cover the immediate medical care you’ve received immediately after the crash.

    And the document contains a waiver, stating that you do not have any further claims against the insurance company. In other words, you give up your right to open a claim or pursue damages in court.

    insurance adjusters often pressure accident victims to accept a low offer

    A Medical Release Form

    An experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer knows how insurance adjusters act if you refuse to accept their lowball offer. They start looking for ways to deny or reduce your claim. One of the tactics they use is asking you to sign a medical release form.

    This signed form would give the adjuster access to your entire medical history, including:

    • Treatment for an older accident or injury
    • Any medication you are taking on an ongoing basis
    • Any health condition you suffer from.

    All these fall under the general term of pre-existing conditions. And they give the adjuster the opportunity to claim that you did not get hurt in the accident. You are simply getting treatment for an old injury and you want to get the insurance company to pay for it.

    While there are ways to fight this tactic, your car accident claim will become very complex. Your attorney may have to hire expert witnesses, and even so the insurer may stick to their guns and refuse to settle. Next, you’ll have to take your chances in court.

    It is much better to protect your chances by refusing to give the adjuster access to your medical records.

    A Recorded Statement

    Many adjusters will start their discussion with you with the question: “can I record this conversation?” The answer must be a firm no. If you agree to give a recorded statement, the adjuster will launch into a series of questions calculated to:

    • Make you admit fault for the accident
    • Contradict yourself with regard to facts of the accident
    • Admit a specific number and types of injuries

    All the details you give will be interpreted by the insurance company to your detriment. Moreover, the recorded statement is admissible evidence in court, and the insurer will definitely use it to get the jury to deny your demand for compensation.

    Discuss Your Case Only with an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer!

    Getting fair compensation after a car accident is not easy, because insurance companies put their profits first. Tthey try to discourage people from filing claims or find reasons to deny them.

    This is why you should rely on an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer and refrain from signing anything before you manage to secure legal representation. 

    Remember that you only have one chance to get compensation, so take the right action. Call us to schedule a free case evaluation at 267-314-8024!

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