Being involved in an auto accident can be terribly frightening. You may have sustained physical injuries as well as damage to your vehicle. Dealing an accident can be stressful and you may be worried about how this is going to affect your life physically, emotionally and financially. There are many negative things that can come out of being involved in an accident that can affect your daily life. Whether your car has been damaged, you need medical treatment, or you are unable to work and are losing substantial money, these all affect your ability to care for yourself and your family. By hiring an experienced attorney, not only will you receive superior legal guidance and avoid costly mistakes, you will be able to minimize the negative effects of the accident and claims process. Accident and injury victims and their families suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. We understand the devastating impact this can have on your life and we are here to get you a full recovery for all your losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of ability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Funeral expenses
What To Do After an Auto Accident
What should you do if you’re in a car accident? When it happens, injuries may be severe and emotions high. However, there are important things to do at the scene of the accident and soon afterward. Here’s some advice.
Stay at the Scene
Never leave the accident scene until it’s appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.
Check on All Drivers and Passengers
Before assessing property damage, make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. Get medical attention for anyone who needs it. If a person is unconscious or has neck or back pain, don’t move them until qualified medical help arrives, unless a hazard requires moving the person.
Call the Police
If there’s significant property damage, physical injury, or death, you need to call the police. Ask that a police report is filed in situations where cops do arrive at the scene and obtain the name and badge numbers of the responding officers.
If a police officer does not arrive at the scene, you may exchange information and follow up with your local law enforcement officers to fill out an incident report. However, it is important that you obtain information regarding the other party in order to complete the report at the offices of law enforcement agencies. See below for additional information on this.
Get the names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their names, numbers, and addresses. In talking to other drivers, try to be cordial and cooperative.
However, you shouldn’t apologize for anything at the scene. For example, if you say, “I’m so sorry I ran that red light! Is everyone okay?” you may be admitting legal liability for what happened. Immediately after an accident, it might not be clear who was at fault or primarily at fault. Moreover, in many states, a fault isn’t determinative of which insurer will pay for any loss. Therefore, try not to admit guilt unintentionally or unnecessarily.
Talk to Witnesses
Ask every witness what he or she saw. Get their names, numbers, or addresses, if possible. Ask locals if they’ve ever witnessed other accidents in the same place.
Inform Your Insurance Company
Promptly tell your insurance company you’ve been in an accident. Cooperate with them and tell them the truth about what happened and the extent of your injuries. Explain the facts clearly. If the insurance company finds out that you’ve lied to them about anything, you can get into serious trouble, including possible denial of coverage for the accident. Obtain and review any police report filed, so you can point out who broke what traffic laws or who was at fault. However, before speaking to an insurance company, you may want to contact the Nater Law Firm, PLLC.
Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment
Note any doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you receive treatment from, and each medical provider that referred you to other caregivers. Keep a detailed account of the treatments and/or medications you receive. Also, request copies of all medical reports and bills as these help you prove your medical expenses later.
Medical expenses are relatively easy to document, but pain and suffering are trickier to prove. Keep a record of how your injuries have impacted your daily life. Include any missed workdays, list any routine activities you can’t undertake, and describe how the injuries have affected your family life, work life, and extra-curricular activities/hobbies.
Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible after the accident. Photos help your insurance adjuster determine how much you should be compensated for the damage to your car and can help in court. Also, pictures of your car before the accident can offer a great “compare and contrast” to show the true extent of damage sustained in the accident. Photographs of the vehicle of all parties involved and the scene of the accident are very helpful in establishing the point of impact and force of the impact. Also, take photographs of any track marks or skid marks in order to provide your attorney Fanny Nater more information with which to argue your case and establish liability/fault for the accident and causation of your injuries.
Get a Property Damage Valuation
Obtain your insurance company’s damage valuation. If you aren’t satisfied with how your insurance company has valued your vehicle, don’t give up. Get two independent repair estimates or replacement quotes. Assertively inform the adjuster of your concerns. If you can’t agree on your car’s value, consider and independent adjuster, mediation/arbitration or consult attorney Fanny Nater for a free consultation.
Use Caution in Discussing the Incident
Don’t talk about the accident to anyone other than your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. Don’t talk to a representative from another insurance company without the knowledge of your attorney or insurer. If called by the other insurance company, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurer to arrange an interview. Also, tell your lawyer or insurer about the call.
Be Wary of Early Settlement Offers
Be careful if you’re offered a settlement from an insurance company before knowing the extent of your injuries and damages. Confirm all your physical injuries have been properly and completely treated by reputable medical professionals. Some injuries don’t show up or reach their greatest level of discomfort until many days, weeks, or months after the accident. Don’t settle a claim until you know you’ll be compensated for all your injuries. Contact attorney Fanny Nater before agreeing to any sum of money offered by the insurance companies and before signing any settlement documents.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
If anyone was injured in the accident, it’s best to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you’re injured or better defend yourself if you’re at fault. Many accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that your lawyer only receives a fee if you’re awarded damages or receive a settlement.