After Your Wreck: 10 Tips, Do’s, and Don’ts
Accidents can leave you and your vehicle in a tailspin, but no need to fret. If you follow the steps below, you are sure to survive this stressful experience without sprouting any new gray hairs.
#1. DON’T leave the scene. Fleeing the scene of an accident, being a hit-and-run driver, can leave you facing serious criminal penalties. DO immediately call the police. If there is significant property damage, injury, or death, make certain that upon their arrival, the police file a police report.
#2. DO exchange information with all involved. Obtain the names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information of every individual involved in the accident. However, DON’T apologize for any events that occurred in the wreck. For example, avoid saying anything remotely similar to the following, “I’m so sorry I ran into your car; I wasn’t paying attention.” By apologizing for the events that occurred, you could be admitting legal liability. Immediately following an accident, it may not be clear who was at fault. Also, often times, fault is not the primary factor in determining which insurer will pay for any losses. Therefore, you should not apologize and admit guilt unintentionally.
#3. DO talk to any and all possible witnesses, if present. Ask what was seen, and obtain phone numbers, names, and addresses if possible.
#4. DO promptly inform your insurance company. Be certain to tell the whole truth about what happened, including the extent of your injuries. DON’T falter from the truth. Lying to your insurance company about anything involving your accident could mean serious consequences, including denial of coverage. In order to report who was at fault, acquire and review police report(s) filed.
#5. DO hire an attorney. If you are seriously injured as a result of this accident, it is in your best interest to protect your rights and hire an attorney. Hiring an attorney may allow you to receive compensation for any and all medical expenses and losses you have experienced. Hiring an attorney is also a wise course of action if you are the individual at fault. An attorney will allow you to better defend yourself in court. Regardless of which party you belong, it is of the utmost importance that you receive legal advice concerning various issues, including the amount of compensation you receive, the quality of your medical care, and statements given to your insurance company. If hiring an attorney sounds like an intimidating, financial commitment, know that at Dove Law Firm, we work strictly on a contingency fee basis—only charging you a fee if you are awarded damages in court or receive a settlement.
#6. Upon making this monumental decision, it is vital that you DON’T skip your research. By putting in a little extra time, you may rest peacefully at night with the knowledge that you hired an experienced attorney who was the perfect fit for you and your case.
#7. DO make an accurate record by taking detailed notes of any and all medical treatment you require following the accident. This includes activities such as visits to any medical professional and physical therapy. Make record of any and all expenses incurred by the accident and accident-related documents, including information like the claim no. and the adjuster. Additionally, make note of any and all medical providers that referred you to supplementary caregivers. Make and keep copies of medical reports and bills; these will allow you to prove your medical expenses. Any pain and suffering you have experienced is much more difficult to prove; therefore, it is in your best interest to make a detailed record of all treatments, medications, injuries, and missed work days. It is also wise to make note of how your injuries have affected your life in terms of your family life, your daily routine, and your work schedule.
#8. DO take pictures of and document the extent of damage done to your vehicle. Photographs are useful tools for insurance adjusters in determining the amount of compensation you receive. Furthermore, photographs of your vehicle prior to the wreck and following the wreck may allow for a helpful compare and contrast in court. This can further reinforce your need for adequate compensation, add to evidence in the courtroom, and allow you to receive the entirety of the financial funds you deserve.
#9. DON’T discuss the accident with anyone other than your lawyer, insurance company, or the police. DON’T speak with the representative of the opposing insurance company without the knowledge of your attorney.
#10. DO consult your attorney before signing any settlement offers. DON’T settle a claim unless you are absolutely certain you are receiving full compensation for the extent of your injuries. Receiving proper legal advice prior to your decision is crucial
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