I Was in an Accident, Now What?
Many of our clients come to us several months or even years after their accident and when we ask them for certain information they respond that they didn’t know that they needed to (or not do) that. Here are the top 5 steps that people should take in personal injury cases:
- Do get medical treatment. This is perhaps the most important aspect of your claim. It is crucial that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you do not have health insurance. It is difficult to show an adjuster that you were seriously injured in an accident if you never sought medical attention. The adjuster will argue that you were not seriously hurt. Additionally, you should not wait long periods of time in between treatment. Be consistent with your follow-up appointments or physical therapy. You should also keep up with the facilities where you sought medical treatment. This will make it easier to request medical records on your behalf. Do not agree to a quick cheap settlement of your case that may not come close to compensating you for your loss. Many insurance companies bank on you wanting quick money even though you may still be in pain from your accident.
- Do call the police and/or report the incident. Many times people are hesitant to call the police or report the incident for various reasons. However, the police/incident report is an important aspect of your case, especially in car accidents. An official report supports that the accident occurred. Additionally, the police officer will usually interview the parties involved, take any witness statements and try to recreate the accident on the report. This information is important when the insurance company needs to make a determination of liability.
- Do not sign a release. Many insurance companies will try to get you to quickly agree to a settlement and sign a release. Do not agree to a sign a release without speaking to a competent attorney. Once a general release is signed, a claim for those aspects included in the release are no longer allowed. It is always important to have proper legal representation when signing any legal document.
- Do document the accident. Gather names and insurance information. Take pictures. Get witness contact information. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words holds true in personal injury cases. While photos are not the end-all be-all, they will help to show the scene immediately following the accident and other important information can be gleaned from photos. In addition to taking photos, get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. These witness statements are very helpful when dealing with the insurance companies. If you are incapacitated, a family may need to handle this aspect.
- Do not give a recorded statement without speaking with a lawyer. Every contact you have with the insurance company will be recorded. However, the insurance adjuster will likely ask you to make a recorded statement to get your version of events. It is important that you seek legal guidance before giving a recorded statement. The adjuster may seek to minimize your damages according to your responses to their questions. Insurance companies make money off not having to pay out claims and the adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money.
By following theses simple steps, you place yourself in the best position to succeed on your claim.
If you or a loved one have been injured, contact us today by calling 601-948-8005 or use our contact form or live chat.