There’s no feeling that brings more anxiety than the sinking feeling in your stomach just after a car wreck. While a thousand thoughts run through your head, you’re left sitting there checking to be sure that you’re okay, while trying to catch your breath, and hoping that the other driver is alright as well. Then it hits you:
- Will my insurance go up?
- Was this my fault?
- Am I going to have to pay for damages or medical bills out of pocket?
- Does this guy have insurance?
All of these thoughts and more start running through your head after an auto accident. After doing a quick internal check to be sure that all of your limbs are working and that you are indeed fully intact, the real panic starts to set in.
Here are a few simple tips to consider after you have been in an accident.
Document and Record Everything
Camera phones are a great thing. Grab yours and start taking photos of the accident scene, the other parties insurance cards, the license plate number, even the other person involved. All of these photos might be useful in court should a seemingly healthy guy decide that he’s injured and needs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for his car, his medical bills, his missed work, and his pain and suffering. These little bits of evidence are often very useful later on.
Be Honest and Forthcoming About the Chain of Events Leading to the Accident
All of this will come out in court later, so it pays to just be honest with the officer taking the report on your accident, as well as your insurance companies. Law enforcement spends a great deal of money investigating these types of accidents, and any disparities are bound to come out at the worst possible time, like when you’re trying to sue for damages and medical bills. These small discrepancies in your story as opposed to the official report are often enough to make you seem uncredible, and any good attorney is going to use your credibility against you when arguing for his client.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Even if you think your injuries are relatively minor, it pays to seek medical attention right away. These minor injuries have a way of lingering for weeks or months, and it becomes difficult to prove that the injury was a direct result of the accident if there isn’t a record of it that establishes this time line. The hospital emergency room or your primary care physician will document this visit, as well as what sort of injuries you were affected with at the time.
Don’t Talk To Insurance Companies Without Representation!
If there’s one actionable takeaway from reading this blog, that should be it. Talking with insurance companies without having an attorney is going to lead to you getting bamboozled, plain and simple. In the event of an injury for which someone else is responsible, the Rosenfeld legal team encourages you to seek a personal injury lawyer even if you’re unsure of the underlying cause or responsible parties. This lawyer should be trained to fight for compensation for a variety of costs, including ongoing physical therapy, time lost from work, car repair, surgical bills, hospital bills, and any ongoing pain and suffering. It’s important to vet your attorney before you end up costing yourself a nice settlement check down the road.
My attorney agreed to take on my case with nothing down, and nothing to pay unless they got me money from the insurance company. Most accident attorneys work the same way (pay nothing up front) so you have no excuse not to find one for yourself should you end up with injuries from your accident.