If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, your health should be your top priority. So, once you check to ensure everyone is all right and call 911 to report the collision, take photos of the accident scene, your car and the other person’s car as soon as possible before evidence is gone. Once the police have left the scene, seek medical treatment right away even if you feel okay. Because of shock and adrenaline, you may not actually feel as good as you think and will likely feel much worse the next morning.
Then, there are a number of steps you should take to help you recover your losses.
- Notify your auto insurance company: Tell your carrier that you were in an accident and that you saw your doctor. This can help you receive medical benefits as soon as possible.
- Request a complete copy of your policy: Ask your insurance company for a complete copy of your policy and review it, so you have a clear idea of the type of coverage you carry.
- Don’t say too much: Even if insurance agents appear helpful, they’re not on your side. Don’t indicate that you were at fault – just give them the facts.
- Take photos of your injuries: Keep taking them until external evidence of the injury is either gone (e.g. bruising fades or swelling subsides) or reaches its final stage of improvement (e.g. scarring blends into your skin color). This type of a record supplements your doctor’s records and allows you to show the adjuster, or in the case of a trial, a jury, what you dealt with over the course of your recovery. Usually, a doctor’s records won’t show significant swelling or bruising, just refer to ecchymosis or edema. Photos you take will help you explain your pain and suffering in a way a jury can understand.
- Compile documents: This should include a copy of the police report and insurance papers.
- Hire a lawyer: Many insurance companies will try to get you to settle your claim for far less than it is worth. They may even try to get you to sign off before you are medically stable. Don’t agree to anything without first talking with an attorney.
When you take these steps before filing an accident claim with your carrier, you’ll feel confident as you move through the process. Learn how to protect your legal rights, so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
The aftermath of a car accident can be just as stressful as the crash itself. Fortunately, get the right help will give you peace of mind during this difficult time.