What To Do If You Have Been In An Auto Accident
1. ALWAYS get a police report.
It is surprising how many people fail to call the police after an auto wreck. Sometimes it is because people do not want the hassle of having to wait at the scene. Others do not think they are hurt and will not need a report, only to discover later that they are injured. Whatever the reason for failing to get a report, it is a huge mistake. It is the police report that will usually determine who is at fault for the wreck, and this is a critical piece of evidence in convincing the insurance company that they should pay you for your damages. Sometimes the police officer will suggest that the two parties exchange information and not get a report. You should insist that the officer write a police report. Should the insurance adjuster fail to pay your claim, the police report will become a critical piece of evidence in court in your trial in the future.
2. Obtain the other driver’s Insurance information as well as their name, address and telephone number.
You will need this critical information in order to be reimbursed for your expenses and damages. Do not contact the individual who hit you. They may be recording the conversation, and that could later be admitted as evidence in a trial. Allow your personal injury attorney to set up the insurance claim from the very start. Insurance adjusters will behave much more favorably and will not attempt to take advantage of you when you have a professional personal injury lawyer representing you.
3. If anyone claims to be a witness at the wreck site, get their name, address and phone number.
It is shocking how many times here in Beaumont and Lake Charles that police officer fails to write this critical information in the police report. An eyewitness can make or break your claim. Take it upon yourself to get this information so that you are not sorry later, and get their name to your personal injury lawyer immediately.
4. Do not tell the other driver that you are NOT injured.
Many people do not think they are injured at the wreck site
only later to discover that they have neck or back pain.
It is very common for a person not to feel injuries due to the
excitement and adrenaline experienced at the wreck site.
It is common for that pain to occur the morning following
the wreck. If you are unable to settle your claim against their
insurance company, it may become necessary to file a
lawsuit. If so, your statements at the wreck site can be
admissible in a trial. If asked how you are feeling, simply do
not respond and wait for the police officer to arrive.
5. If you suspect that you have ANY injury, ask the police officer to call an ambulance and go to an Emergency Room.
It is always better to err on the side of caution and go to the emergency room for an evaluation. A reasonable and prudent person will seek medical attention if they are at all concerned about their health. This is especially true after experiencing the trauma that occurs in an auto wreck. Most importantly, it documents the fact that you suspected that you might be injured.
6. Seek appropriate follow up medical attention promptly.
After you visit the Emergency Room, follow up with your primary care physician or visit with your attorney about what type of medical professional you should see next. One of the insurance adjuster’s favorite reasons for denying or underpaying your claim is that you have “gaps in treatment”. A gap in treatment of more than 10 days can cripple your claim. If you do not have the means to pay for your medical care, contact your attorney immediately and allow him/her to arrange medical care for you. A trustworthy local firm such as ours is established in the community and can help you get the medical care that you need when you need it the most.
7. Take your own photos of any bruises, cuts or scrapes to your body as well photos of any property damage to your
Injuries to your body such as these heal rather quickly. It is important that you get photos before they go away. Remember the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Often these kinds of injuries are forgotten later after dealing with the more serious injuries of broken bones or an injured neck or back. Should your claim go to trial, these photos will be essential in helping the jury see the extent of your injuries.When it comes to property damage photos, be assured that the insurance adjuster or investigator who takes those photos will do so in such a way as to minimize the look of the severity of the damage. Take your own photos and document each and every aspect of that property damage in a way that will highlight with clarity the damage to your property.
8. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster whether it be your own or the other driver’s insurance company, NEVER give a recorded statement.
A recorded statement can be used as evidence at a trial should you not be able to get your claim settled. The problem is that you will be attempting to tell the truth every time you are asked to rehearse the events; however, it is almost impossible to tell the exact same story in exactly the same way. Compounding this problem is that insurance adjusters are highly trained to get you to give them information in a way that is most favorable to the insurance company. NEVER give a recorded statement no matter how nice or how threatening an insurance adjuster may be. Remember, the adjuster is paid to minimize your claim. Don’t do anything that will aid them in their efforts.
9. Get an attorney involved in the process from the beginning.
An insurance adjuster is specially trained to persuade you to take an amount in settlement that is far below the value of your claim. You should have an advocate who routinely negotiates with insurance adjusters that will look out for YOUR interests. It is common knowledge in the industry that when an attorney is involved, the insurance adjuster will pay much more on a claim. It is especially important to have an attorney to help guide you through your claims process to protect you from the pitfalls that a representative of the big insurance corporation will attempt to drag you through. Their mission is to maximize profits at your expense.
If you have questions and need to talk to a Auto Accident Lawyer right here in Beaumont, Texas or Lake Charles Louisiana. Please Contact Us if you have any questions for our personal injury lawyer who can handle any personal injury claim you may have.
Contact us if you have been in an auto accident for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION!