Suffering Personal Injury After A Car Accident: What To Do
When a reckless driver speeds through oncoming traffic at 90 miles an hour and crashes into your car, your world is likely to turn upside down. An unpredictable car accident can be a life-changing event. The catastrophic consequences of the accident might include medical problems for you or fellow passengers, emotional trauma, costly car repairs and property damage. Fortunately, adhering to a few guidelines will help you receive the proper financial compensation for any personal injuries that result from the accident.
The frightening moments in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident ideally should be followed by a sense of calm. Maintaining presence of mind, if possible, while you sort through the details can affect how much you receive in reimbursements from your insurance company if you file a personal injury claim.
Personal Injury Defined
All of the following constitute as personal injury after a car accident:
- Doctor’s bills
- Lost employment wages
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
These compensatory damages have a monetary value, essentially what the results of the accident cost you physically, financially and emotionally.
The compensation you receive, if you are not responsible for the accident, depends on the actions you take subsequent to the mishap. If you are at fault for the accident or even partially responsible, most states stipulate that any monetary compensation you receive will factor in this “comparative negligence.”
But In order to have a case at all, evidence of property damage or personal injuries must be present.
Here is what to do when suffering a personal injury after a car accident:
- Never Admit Fault
- Record Evidence
- Seek Medical care
- Note Medical Bills
- Work with a Personal Injury Attorney
1. Never Admit Fault
While at the scene, do not admit fault to the other party, passengers, witnesses or to your insurance agent. Failing to adhere to this important step will severely jeopardize the likelihood of you receiving compensation. Instead, file a police report with all the facts. Give the insurance company the responsibility of sorting out the details.
2. Record Evidence
Evidence of the accident will boost your chances for monetary compensation from the insurance company. Here are some ways to collect proper evidence to support your case.
1. Jot down names and the contact information of any present witnesses
2. Take ample photographs of the accident, including the accident location, stop signs, and traffic lights.
3. Snap multiple photographs of the damage to your car. Shoot from every angle, and be sure to take close-ups as well as long-distance photographs.
4. Keep evidence of monetary losses due to the accident, like lost employment wages, time off from school, or loss of work-related opportunities.
3. Seek Medical Care
The most important step to pursue immediately after the accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you feel you have not sustained any harm, be aware that symptoms of injury, such as dizziness, numbness, discomfort and pain, can appear up to several days or weeks after the accident.
When you see a doctor right away, you automatically support your personal injury claim. Wait just a few days to seek medical attention, and you will have a difficult time proving your injuries are due to the accident.
When you seek medical treatment, follow the doctor’s advice. Failing to show up to scheduled therapy visits only diminishes your chances of the insurance company issuing compensation for personal injury damages. After all, if you are well and have little need to seek medical care, the insurance claims adjustor has no reason to associate your injuries with the accident.
4. Note Medical Details
Full reimbursement from your insurance company depends on how accurately you take notes of the medical care you receive. Here’s what you can do to note the medical details:
1. Take down names of doctors and physical therapists you see
2. Keep receipts from all of the following:
a. Prescribed medications
b. Assistive devices (like canes or crutches)
c. Ambulance bills
d. Emergency room visits
3. Save all correspondence with medical professionals, including emails or records of phone calls.
4. Keep track of all travel expenses surrounding doctor’s appointments or physical therapy visits.
You will also back up your case by filling out a daily journal that specifically documents the varying degrees of pain you experience due to your sustained injuries. Photos of your injuries also strengthen your personal injury case with the insurance company.
5. Work with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If working directly with your insurance is not providing beneficial results, you can hire a personal injury lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve. A good personal injury lawyer will gather the appropriate evidence and file a claim in a manner that is likely to achieve the most favorable financial outcome.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, it would be a good idea to bring the following:
• Copy of the police report
• Any related documentation
• Photos of the accident to your consultation
• Copy of your auto insurance policy
What a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Do:
Your lawyer will locate and interview any witnesses who were present at the scene. Depending on your coverage, your insurance may provide monetary compensation through uninsured coverage, underinsured coverage or med-pay. A lawsuit will be filed only when absolutely necessary, since insurance companies are likely to settle.
Most personal injury lawyers will not charge you anything to accept your case. Instead, they may work on a contingency basis, meaning they will take a percentage of what they can recover via your auto insurance company.
Entitled to Compensation from Personal Injury after Car Accident
According to state law, individuals and businesses are responsible for ensuring their actions do not injure others. When you are injured, you are entitled to receive compensation for the inflicted damages, whether they are intentional or unintentional.
Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., offers comprehensive services to victims of personal injury. Along with car accidents, our attorneys handle a range of personal injury cases, including but not limited to the following:
• Car accidents
• Bicycle accidents
• Motorcycle accidents
• Truck accidents
• Elder abuse