In the event of an accident, the second person you should call after your doctor is a lawyer.
After you've been injured in a car accident, you know you need to focus on healing. However, so many different things happen after a car accident that you may not know where to turn. If your injuries were caused by someone else's negligence, it is important to follow a few key steps to ensure you are getting the compensation you deserve.
Get medical help right away
The first thing that you must do to get a fair solution is to see a doctor right away. You want post-accident injuries to be documented by a doctor as soon as possible. These records will be vital to any future compensation.
Be honest with the police
At the scene of the accident, you want to be as honest as possible with the police. For example, if you haven't seen the other driver with a cell phone in hand, don't pretend that you know he texted and drove. You also don't want to tell the police that you think you did something wrong. Any statement you make on the spot is part of the police report that the insurance companies will review.
Document the scene
If your injuries are too severe to document the scene, ask someone who is with you to do it for you. You should take photos of vehicles, the lane, traffic signs, and more to prove what may have happened in the accident. Depending on the severity, the police can do this too, and you can request copies of the photo.
Gather the names of the witnesses and their contact information. When you are able, write a statement about what happened that you can refer to in case you land in court.
Notify your insurance company
You must inform your own insurance company that you have had an accident, even if you believe the other person is at fault. By the time the other insurance company starts paying for your damage, your insurance company may have to pay your medical bills. They will work with the other insurance company to get their money back as the claim progresses. However, you must inform them of your accident so that your invoices can be processed.
Make a follow-up appointment with your doctor
If you go to an emergency room, you will most likely make an appointment with your GP. Make this appointment as soon as possible. Although the emergency room will list your initial injuries, your GP will provide the most detailed information about how extensive your injuries are. They will also refer you to specialists or therapies that you may need.
Do not make a statement to the other insurance company
A common mistake people make after an accident is making a statement to the other insurance company. In this statement you can make a comment that can be used against you. A simple "I looked away for a second" could result in the insurance company claiming you were distracted, and that led to the accident even if the other person made a much bigger mistake, like crossing the center line. Although you may have to make a statement, you can wait to speak to a lawyer or ask for a lawyer to be there.
Take pictures of your car before it is repaired
If your vehicle can be repaired, you'll want to photograph the damage before having the repairs done. This will allow you to document how extensive the damage is and also provide details of the injuries sustained.
Don't let an insurance company pressure you to settle down
The insurance company will try to get you to settle your claim as soon as possible, especially if they think your claim represents a significant amount of money. Do not take the first offer from the insurance company as it is usually the lowest.
Track any missed time on the job
Your injuries can be so severe that you can no longer work. In this case, you need to keep the documentation of your missed time. Keep copies of your vacation receipts, ask your employer to write a letter of your days missed, or collect pay slips before and after your accident to prove your missed time.
Keep medical bills and receipts organized
Documentation is crucial for your billing. You should have a copy of:
Medical equipment bills
Mileage for visits to the doctor
Go on to the doctor
It is important that you continue to see your doctor throughout the billing process. It is also important that you strictly follow your doctor's instructions. Note that it is not uncommon for insurance companies to hire private investigators. If the investigator sees you doing something your doctor said you couldn't, it could endanger your settlement.
X-ray with broken collarbone; Image by Harlie Raethel via Unsplash.com.
If you don't take your medication or attend therapy as recommended, your injury can get worse. However, the insurance company may not be liable for your deteriorating condition.
Contact an attorney
In the event of an accident, the second person you should call after your doctor is a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer doesn't mean you plan to sue. A lawyer will walk you through the process and help you get the compensation you are entitled to under the law.