The process of filing a personal injury claim can be long and complicated. While laws are designed to protect victims, you must be able to prove who is at fault for the accident as well as the full extent of your losses and bodily injures.
Consult with an attorney. Your attorney can: 1) protect your rights; 2) preserve relevant evidence; 3) assist in repairing damage to your vehicle; 4) receive a rental vehicle, if necessary; 5) ensure payment of medical bills; 6) provide guidance on receiving necessary medical treatment; 7) seek reimbursement for lost wages; and 8) obtain compensation for pain, suffering, and permanency. It is important to remember you have two (2) years from the date of the accident to either settle your claim or pursue legal action. However, the sooner you consult with an attorney, the better.
Here are 6 things to do after a motor vehicle accident:
Crash Report. The police will complete a crash report and may take photos. Tell the investigating officer exactly what happened but do not speculate on what “might have” happened or what you “think” happened. Be sure to tell the officer if you are injured or feeling pain and do not speak with anyone else at the scene concerning the events of the crash. Do not admit any fault or liability.
Witnesses. Obtain names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses. The police usually include this information on the report, but witnesses are not always listed.
Take Pictures. Take photographs at the scene or as soon thereafter as you are able. Photos should include damage to all vehicles involved, any skid marks, debris, and visible injuries.
Seek Medical Treatment. It is not unusual for pain or discomfort to surface several hours or days after an accident. Many soft tissue injuries begin as stiffness and pain, but progressively worsen to more serious medical conditions.
Report the Accident. Notify your insurance company after the accident, particularly if you intend to make a claim for medical payments (med-pay) or uninsured/underinsured coverage. The at-fault party’s insurance company should contact you soon after the accident to discuss the accident and your injuries. If asked to provide a statement, be very careful what you say because anything you say may be recorded and used against you. Don’t let the adjuster’s demeanor give you a false sense of comfort. Even the most sympathetic-sounding claims adjuster is not your friend. We advise clients not to give a recorded statement without first discussing it with an attorney.
Keep a File. Keep copies of bills, receipts, medical records, letters from insurance companies, photos, etc. Also, keep a daily journal of how you’re feeling, medical treatments or tests and days missed from work.
Our firm has over thirty-seven (37) years’ experience representing clients who suffer injuries, lost wages and permanent medical conditions resulting from accidents, work injuries and premise liability claims. We focus on full and fair compensation for each client we represent.
For a list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning personal injury claims, visit here.