The time after a car accident is always fraught with anxieties. You probably have a million questions running through your mind. You may not know what to do or where to turn. Unfortunately, car accidents are among the most common causes of personal injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2 million people suffer from auto accident-related injuries every year. Here is a brief overview of everything you need to know after an auto accident.
There are many things to do in the immediate aftermath of an accident. First things first, you should make sure that nobody is injured. Secondly, call the police to report the incident. Let them know if anyone has suffered any serious injuries. While you wait for the officers to arrive at the scene, exchange contact and insurance information with all involved parties. You should also start documenting evidence. Take photographs of anything at the accident scene that you feel may be relevant to your case, including any injuries or property damage. You may even want to consider reaching out to any potential witnesses or local business owners, who may have caught your accident on camera. Do not forget to jot down the contact information of any witnesses you speak to, in case you need to refer back to them later. Once the police arrive, stick to the facts. Give them a non-sensationalized account of the accident. In the heat of the moment, you may say things misconstrued as admissions of guilt. Do not apologize or express remorse. A formal statement is not the same thing as a casual conversation. You may have your words used against you. Just tell everything that happened as it happened. Remember to request a copy of the police report for your claim.
You should seek medical attention immediately, regardless of whether or not you believe you are seriously injured. Some of the most common car accident injuries, such as whiplash and head trauma, may take a while to make themselves known. Untreated injuries will only get worse with time, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Plus, not going to the doctor can sabotage your auto accident claim if you choose to pursue damages for personal injury. The other party may claim that you are faking or exaggerating your injuries and that otherwise, you would have seen a physician right away. The right doctor will be able to establish clear cause for your injuries and document it on your medical records.
Ideally, you should call your insurance provider within 24 hours of the accident to provide them with your formal statement. You should also provide them with a copy of your police report, if possible. However, you may want to consider consulting a lawyer before speaking to any insurance representatives. A claims adjuster is a trained professional investigator, and an insurance company is a business like any other. They will doggedly pursue any reason to minimize your settlement or deny your claim altogether. An attorney can help you put together an airtight statement for your insurance provider. The other party’s insurance provider may also ask you to make a statement. Remember that you have the right to decline, at least until you have the chance to speak to your lawyer. In short, you should refrain from making any agreements with any insurance representatives at all without first seeking legal counsel—including signing any release forms.
It is only natural to wonder how you will pay for your medical expenses while you wait for your claim to resolve. It is unfair for you to have to pay for an accident someone else caused. If your auto insurance policy has MedPay coverage, then a separate MedPay claim should have automatically been opened for you. You may need to utilize your private health insurance policy to cover any medical expenses during the claims process. You may also want to consider filing a claim with your insurance provider if you do not have private health insurance or are otherwise overwhelmed. If the other party has been determined liable, then your attorney can help settle any repayments to your health and auto insurance companies. You may also be eligible for different types of compensation apart from medical expenses, such as lost wages or pain and suffering.
Make no mistake about it: An insurance company will pressure you to accept their settlement offer right away—if you are even lucky enough to get one at all. There are many reasons for this. Medical expenses are often at their lowest early on in a case. Every dollar in a settlement is a loss for an insurance company, giving them every motive to offer you the smallest possible amount. Of course, they may be telling you the exact opposite. They may claim that this settlement is as good as it will ever get. In reality, you have room to negotiate. Working with an attorney can give you an idea of your case’s true worth—and get you closer to receiving the full compensation you deserve. Still, you should take care to manage your expectations. Some cases may take longer to settle than others, especially if they have complicated liability issues or involve serious injuries. Speaking with a lawyer is the best way to know what you should reasonably expect.
Taking care of a car accident claim can be overwhelming, especially if you are recovering from injuries and property damage. You need someone you can trust in your corner. We at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide auto accident attorneys. You should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve.