Here are some steps to follow if you are in a car accident:
1. If you were treated at the scene of the car accident for any injuries, continue with the treatment prescribed by the health care provider. Any delay or breaks in treatment can negatively affect your physical recovery as well as the settlement value of your case.
2. Take photos of any bruises or lacerations and any damage to your car, especially any damage to the interior such as seats, dashboard or steering wheel.
3. If you did not require medical treatment at the scene of the accident or are feeling sore shortly after you get home, try to take some hot showers or baths. This would tend to eliminate or reduce any soft tissue injuries. See your family doctor as soon as possible. Remember, there really is not an adequate amount of money to compensate you for your pain, so you should do everything possible to immediately reduce any possibility of pain or long term injuries.
4. Notify your insurance carrier or agent of the accident. They will open a file and assist with repair or replacement of your car. They can be of great assistance even if the other driver’s insurance company will be paying for the damage.
5. Do not, repeat do not, give a statement to an insurance representative from the other side. All they wish to do is to find some way to deny or diminish your claims. They are more experienced than you are. Just tell them where the car is and that it is available for inspection.
6. Obtain a free consultation from a qualified personal injury attorney, preferably before speaking to the other side’s insurance representative. Personal injury attorneys are more than happy to assist you, even if they don’t handle your case.
You may receive a letter or telephone call from the insurance carrier advising you that you should not contact an attorney, that you should deal directly with them without a lawyer, that they will be fair. BEWARE OF THIS. They will not be fair. They are trying to reduce the amount of money to which you are entitled.
7. Your medical bills should be turned into and paid by your medical hospitalization insurance provider. This will ensure prompt payment to those who are giving you medical assistance. In most cases your medical insurance provider will be repaid at the time of settlement of your claim.
These are just a few of the things that you should do if you are in a car accident. Many times your case can be resolved without employing an attorney. Still, you should take full advantage of a free consultation from a lawyer.
If you choose to contact us for advice, you will not be committed to us in any way, and at the least, will have a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities.
If at any time you still need advice or are uncertain what to do next, you should contact an attorney. Feel free to contact our office by telephone, letter or email.
Remember, there is no charge for discussing your case with us and there is no commitment on your part unless and until a written agreement is prepared and signed.