If you are involved in an accident with injuries, there are certain things you can do in order to make sure that you protect yourself.
Contact Law Enforcement
You want to alert law enforcement in order to have a report made. Law enforcement will do a preliminary investigation, interview witnesses, look at the scene of the accident, and also give a determination of who is at fault for the accident. This record of who is at fault will be an important piece of evidence in proving liability. The other driver may say he or she is at fault while at the scene of the accident and then later change the story. The other driver may even deny an accident even happened. Having a report made by law enforcement will help protect you.
Get Witness Contact Information
If there are witnesses at the scene and your injuries aren’t severe enough that you can’t talk to them, get contact information. Third party witnesses may not still be at the scene when law enforcement comes. When you get witness information, you are able to help law enforcement determine who is at fault. Police reports don’t typically list the details where you are able to contact witnesses later. If you need a witness to testify at a trial, you need his or her contact information.
Seek Out Medical Treatment Immediately
You should get medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident. This isn’t the time to think the pain will go away or be worried about medical expenses. The longer you wait to get medical attention then the easier it is for the insurance company to say you weren’t hurt due to the accident. Insurance companies may claim that if you waited a few days or didn’t take an ambulance, you weren’t really injured, or injuries happened by another event after the accident.
Describe Injuries in Detail
When you do seek out medical treatment, make sure that you describe injuries in detail. Medical providers will document your injuries and complaints in medical records. Insurance companies then use these medical records to evaluate claims later on. If you later claim an injury that isn’t reflected in these medical records, then insurance companies argue the injury isn’t related to the accident. Even if you feel a slight pain, you don’t think is worth mentioning, do so since it can get worse over time and turn into a serious injury. Make sure you speak with your medical provider about any part of the body you feel could be affected by the accident and don’t just assume it will get better.
Get Diagnostic Tests
Be sure that you request and actually get any necessary diagnostic exams and tests when getting treatment for injuries after an accident. Your only concern should be your health and making sure your injuries are documented, not about expenses. You also don’t want to let doctors talk you out of the right test. You need to be an advocate for yourself and request the right tests. The sooner your injuries are diagnosed after the accident, the easier it is to show that they are related to the accident. Make sure you get the necessary tests when you first go in for treatment.
Don’t Give Statements to the Insurance Company
You don’t want to give any statements to the insurance company after an accident, even your own insurance company. You may think that your own insurance company is on your side, but this is not the case. In the event that the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance or isn’t insured then you are going to be dealing with your own insurance company. While you will want the highest payout possible, your insurance company is going to want to pay you as little as possible. One reason that insurance companies contact you so soon after an accident is because you likely haven’t had enough time to consult with an attorney. You should notify your insurance company that an accident has happened but don’t give a statement until you have consulted with an experienced car accident attorney.
Speak with an Attorney
A car accident attorney will have your best interests in mind, instead of your insurance company, and help guide you through the entire process of getting medical treatment and handling your claim.
Keep Details of Medical Treatment and Injures
After an accident, it’s important to document important experiences and events associated with your injury, including time off from work and out-of-pocket expenses. Your case may take time to process, and, over time, your memory can become fuzzy so having documented details helps. You will need comprehensive medical records to help with your claim.
Follow Through with Medical Appointments
Medical care after an accident can be time consuming, but these appointments can make sure that you recover properly and get back to optimal health. If you miss appointments, the insurance company can claim that you weren’t injured and not want to pay for your damages. You don’t want to give the insurance company any reasons to deny your claim.