Being seriously hurt in a vehicle accident can change the course of your life forever. Filing a claim after a car accident is critical and you need to protect your rights by retaining the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Far too many victims find out that filing a claim after a car accident can make it difficult for them to put the pieces of their lives back together and to get the financial support they need to move on with their future. Scheduling a consultation with a personal injury attorney can help you determine who is responsible in a car accident and can also help you to avoid some of the most common mistakes made by those people who have sustained injuries.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in an accident, make sure you and your family receive what you’re owed and have the means to move forward with your lives. You can fill out a free, no-risk case evaluation to get started.
At the scene of the accident itself, call the police to the scene. The details of the crash might be fuzzy to you in the future, but having police present can diffuse heated conversations between drivers and also ensure that someone is tracking all of the main details about the wreck such as the date, time, people involved, and suspected cause. This information will be used to contact your insurance company and could also prove important in your personal injury case in the future.
Having the police report with the contact information, phone number, and license plate number for the other driver will make things easier in the future.
Step #1: Get Medical Attention
You might not realize in the immediate aftermath of an accident that you have sustained serious injuries. Some injuries, such as whiplash or even traumatic brain injuries might have silent or mild symptoms for the first 24 to 48 hours after the accident. If you continue to experience strange personal injury symptoms, however, you need to report these to your doctor. It is always better to be safe than sorry and to get screened for any potential medical conditions.
This also gets this on your medical records early that you believe you suffered injuries as a result of the accident, giving you the opportunity to bring these up in your personal injury claim. Failing to go to the doctor and trying to tough things out can make things more difficult for your case overall because the other party can argue that you were not seriously injured. Furthermore, failing to get medical attention means you won't get access to critical tests and diagnostic treatments immediately after being hurt.
Make sure that you continue to attend all follow up appointments and take notes about what you discussed. Keeping a journal of your injuries will also make it easier for you to share with your personal injury lawyer how the accident has impacted your life. It is possible that you may not be able to return to work but you could also experience other side effects from an accident, such as difficulty getting through day to day life. Keep note of all of these inside your journal of notes so that you can bring them up to your personal injury lawyer if necessary.
Step #2: Contact the Car Insurance Company
Your insurance company needs to know that you've been involved in an accident and even if you were not at fault. This is because your insurance company needs to investigate what caused the accident and formalize the beginning of your personal injury claim.
While it is certainly true that you may be able to recover the compensation you need from your insurance company after an accident, all too often in cases of serious or catastrophic injuries you might discover that the scope of the compensation needed extends far beyond what your insurance carrier can offer. In these circumstances you'll need to be prepared to file a personal injury claim as well.
Note the name of the claims adjuster and any important numbers for your individual case. Share this with your lawyer, too, if you move on with a legal claim against the at-fault driver.
Step #3: Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
When filing a claim after a car crash you need to get legal support for your claim as soon as possible. Do not assume that you can handle this case on your own. First of all, your primary focus should be on attending all of your medical appointments and listening to your doctor's insight about how to give yourself the best chance of recovery.
Beyond this, your lawyer should be completely capable of handling all aspects of your legal claim so that you have the peace of mind of knowing that someone is representing their claim to the fullest while you are getting the attention and medical care that you need and deserve.
A personal injury lawyer can handle all legal aspects of your insurance claim and legal case including communicating with the insurance company about settlement offers or even denial of claims. Your personal injury lawyer will assist you in the event that your insurance company cannot cover the compensation for the full scope of your injuries. Your lawyer might even do things like bring in expert witnesses or work with an accident reconstruction team to build a compelling case about the car crash.
Step #4: Gather All Evidence
Your lawyer will likely ask you to gather evidence that supports your claim immediately after you've been hurt. This can include photos, videos, eyewitness statements, police reports, medical records and more. The more organized you can be the easier it will be for you to proceed with your claim.
Never assume that the insurance company will understand your side of the situation easily. You might have to present a compelling case to the insurance carrier that you deserve compensation for your injuries. This is where the right personal injury lawyer comes into play with a claim after a car crash. An injury attorney will take control of your legal situation and ensure the case keeps moving forward.
The evidence is essential for making a claim that you’re entitled to damage recovery. Some of the most common damages associated with these injury claims include:
- Current medical bills and future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Missed wages from work
At the time of the accident, you might not realize the far-reaching impacts of the injuries you sustain. Getting an accurate read on the likely future effects on your life will help you feel more confident in accepting a settlement offer or deciding to move the case to trial.
Step #5: Do Not Sign Any Paperwork
It is likely that the insurance company might ask you to sign paperwork, such as a settlement agreement or a release notification. It is always recommended that you consult with your personal injury attorney when filing a claim after a car crash. You might assume that your insurance company is there to protect you but all too often they are doing things to minimize their own obligations within the claim.
The insurance company and certainly the other driver do not have your best interests in mind. It’s their major concern to protect themselves. You should always tell them both to direct all communication through your lawyer only.
Step #6: Continue to Monitor Your Progress
Once you’ve engaged a personal injury lawyer, it becomes their job to stay involved in the case as a whole. They should be communicating with your insurance company for you and touching base regularly to let you know if there are any updates regarding your claim. If you have an additional claim for workers’ compensation, your lawyer can assist you with that separate legal process, too.
During this time, you might hear your doctor refer to something known as “maximum medical improvement.” This could mean that you have reached the full extent of your recovery probability. For some car accident victims, this comes much sooner than you might have expected, and you’ll need to adjust your daily life and expectations as a result. If your doctor tells you that you are at this point, pass that information along to your lawyer.
The insurance company might argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. They might even allege that you’ve recovered and are living a normal life. For most people, this can be very frustrating especially since your life will have changed so much due to your involvement in the wreck.
Don’t let the insurance carrier take advantage of you; leverage the resource you have of an experienced personal injury lawyer to fight back and continue pushing for the damages you deserve.