You've been involved in aaccident and you have been injured. Now What?
By Patrick Adams
Here's an easy-to-follow guide to help answer some of those questions and assist you in getting through this difficult time.
Seek immediate medical attention. Your failure to seek immediate medical attention can be used against you by the insurance companies and their lawyers, who will argue that your injuries could not have been serious or you would have sought immediate medical attention.
Report the accident to the DMV or your insurance company.
Take photographs of your injuries, the damage to the vehicle and the scene of the accident. Good pictures can make the difference in the outcome of a personal injury case. Develop your film as soon as possible to ensure they are good quality photos of your injuries, damages to the vehicles, and the accident scene.
Don't discuss the accident with the other driver, their attorney or any insurance company, including your own. Never give a written or recorded statement, unless you have consulted an attorney. Anything you say from the time of the accident until your case is resolved can be used against you in court. Any statements made to opposing attorneys and or insurance companies, can be used by them to hurt your case.
Have a police report prepared and obtain a copy of the report. If the police do not come to the scene of the accident, visit the nearest police station and fill out an accident report. Make sure you list all of your injuries and any statements of fault made by the other driver.
Keep a record of the names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses to the accident. The police do not always include all witnesses in the police report. Many cases have been won, and lost, by not having a witness to support a claim.
Keep a log of the time you take off from work as a result of the accident. You can use this log to support your claim for lost wages, and as an exhibit in court to prove your wage loss or settle your case.
Keep a log of the names, dates of service, and reason for seeing all medical professionals since the time of the accident. You or your attorney can use this log to prepare a medical history relative to your accident, and to obtain the necessary records for advancing the settlement or trial regarding a personal injury claim.
Keep a log and receipts for your out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident. You are entitled to reimbursement of all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident. These can include rental cars, clothing, medical expenses, non-prescription medication, and other expenses not covered by your insurance policy.
Follow through with all necessary medical care. If you don't obtain the medical care you need, the insurance companies and their lawyers will argue that you are not really injured as badly as you are claiming. Obtain all necessary medical care in a timely manner, and don't give them that opportunity.
Avoid signing any documents or releases of information unless you are advised to do so by your attorney. The insurance companies and their lawyers will use all available means to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you. They will try to obtain your medical records, and other records, by telling you that they need them to evaluate your claim. However, often they will use the information they obtain to discredit your claims. Consult your attorney if you are asked to provide any records, even to your own insurance company.
Do not settle your case until all present and future medical expenses are known. You are entitled to be compensated for all past medical expenses as well as all future medical expenses that you are reasonably certain to incur. An experienced auto accident injury attorney can help you to determine what amounts you are entitled to receive.
Keep copies of everything. You must be able to prove all elements of your case, and this requires good record keeping. Don't try to guess what you should keep, because you never know what information you will need later in your claim. Keep records of everything, including the police report, witness information, medical bills, lost wages and medical history logs, and anything else that might support your case. If you don't think you need it, check with your attorney before tossing any piece of evidence.
See an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The best way to find out your rights is to see an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. An experienced attorney can help you develop the necessary proof for your case and deal with any potential problems. Do not withhold any information from your attorney. Everything you say to your attorney is protected and confidential. The insurance companies and their lawyers deal with personal injury claims on a daily basis. The only way you can even the playing field is to have professional representation on your side as well.