What to Do After an Accident
- Report accident to the police and obtain a police report
- Obtain all information from witnesses to the accident
- See a doctor of your own choice immediately regardless if you are feeling any symptoms at that time. If you do not have a doctor, health insurance or the means to pay, go to the emergency room in order to rule out any serious symptoms. (Many hospitals inform in discharge documents to those involved in accidents that they may feel symptoms or soreness in 2-3 days from the accident.)
- Set up a claim with your own insurance company
- Take photos of your vehicle and any visible injuries immediately
- Keep records of all receipts, including prescriptions, co-pays, tow, tow yard etc. (If your damages or expenses are not documented, they did not take place according to many insurance companies.)
- Write down specific instances when you were unable to perform your job duties, daily tasks or family obligations (A diary of your symptoms and pain are very helpful in proving the pain and suffering element of your case.)
- Contact an attorney that can provide you with expert legal representation to ensure that you do not say anything detrimental to your claim and that the true value of your claim is maximized either via negotiations and settlement or trial in front of a jury.
DO NOT DO
- Do NOT sign any forms from any adjuster without consulting with an attorney (Several major insurance companies have forms that will offer up to a certain dollar in medical treatment in exchange for your signature. An adjuster for that company will show up at the hospital, your home or work in an attempt to get you to sign that form and give you a check for your suffering. Beware. Read the fine print of those forms. You are giving the insurance company the right to determine what treatment you need. That insurance company may stop payment at anytime under the terms of that form. Additionally, you may later learn that you will need treatment or will miss work which will result in much more of a financial loss than is what is covered by those forms.)
- Do NOT provide a recorded statement to the adjuster representing the person that hit you.
- Do NOT delay treatment with a doctor. If you do not have health insurance or the financial ability to pay, go to the emergency room to rule out any serious injuries or complications. Then consult with an attorney as to how you can qualify for assistance if further treatment is needed. (Even if a doctor later determines that you have injuries that will be costly to treat, many insurance companies will deny your claim if you have waited weeks to be examined under the theory that your injuries could have been caused by something else during that time period.)
- Do NOT provide a recorded statement to your adjuster without consulting with an attorney (Under your policy with your insurance company, terms exist that require you to cooperate with them and report the accident. Those terms also require that you cooperate in provided a recorded statement to your own insurance company. However, you can have your attorney present in order to make sure that the questioning is appropriate and within the legal scope of the investigation.