If you are in an auto accident involving personal injury, it can be terrifying, but it is important to stay calm.
The first steps that you take after these accidents can significantly impact your reimbursement if you file a claim. Check out these tips to learn the best ways to deal with a bodily injury auto accident.
Don’t Admit Fault
You might feel that you should apologize to the other party at the scene of the accident, or even admit fault when reporting it to your insurance agent. Doing this can actually jeopardize your claim.
If you believe that the accident was partially, or completely your fault, do not let the other party, witnesses, the police, your other passengers, or your insurance agent know that you feel that way.
Instead of taking the blame for the accident, get a police report and give an accurate description, complete with photos (if possible). Let the insurance companies decide where the fault lies.
Details, Details, Details…
To improve your chances for full reimbursement following a personal injury auto accident, details are key. To strengthen your claim you should always:
- Take lots of pictures: Since nearly every driver has a camera on their phone, this is much easier than it used to be. If your injuries are not too severe to allow it, take pictures of the cars involved and the location (including street names, traffic lights and signage).
- When photographing your car, more is better. Take lots of pictures from lots of angles, making sure to get close-ups and long distance shots.
- Documentation: Keep every receipt from the towing service, impound yard, hospital and doctor’s offices, and record any lost wages or opportunities associated with your injuries.
- Names and contact information: Try to get this information from the other party, the officer at the scene, and any witnesses to the accident.
- Keep any and all information received from doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and any other professionals that you are referred to following the accident.
You should also collect these records:
- Receipts for any medications prescribed by your doctors
- Travel expenses for medical treatment
- All medical bills and receipts, including those for equipment (canes, crutches, wheelchairs, etc.)
- All correspondence, such as e-mails from medical professionals during your treatment and any notes that you take during your appointments.
- A journal or daily diary. Write down details about your care, your daily pain levels, and any inconveniences associated with your injuries.
Mistakes to Avoid
When all of the dust settles, and it is determined that qualify for reimbursement, some of your actions can still hurt your claim. To ensure a full and fair settlement, be sure to avoid these common mistakes.
- Never let the other party talk you into not filing a police report.
- Don’t talk to people about your case until you need to.
- Never sign any release form or cash a check that comes with a release before a total settlement. Doing so may release the insurance company from any other financial responsibility.
- Don’t settle before all medical treatment and therapy is complete. Be sure that your doctor has confirmed you have recovered completely, and you know the total cost of your injury before a settlement is reached.
Personal Injury Attorneys
If you are overwhelmed by the confusion of dealing with your injury claim, a personal injury attorney could definitely help.
These experienced professionals specialize in these types of claims and can ensure that you fully understand your rights and get you the highest level of reimbursement the law will allow. If you and the insurance company end up in court, disputing the full scope of your claim, attorneys can be invaluable.