Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is a frightening experience for anyone, but it can be especially frustrating when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of your own, such as a rear-end collision. In this instance, there are certain steps you can take to protect your rights and ensure the process of recovery, both for your injuries and monetary damages, is as simple as possible.
Contact the Police and Take Photographs
Many people choose to not wait at the accident scene and involve the police, choosing instead to settle the matter with the other driver and his or her insurer themselves. This decision can lead to lengthy phone calls with the insurance company, fighting over coverage and shared liability, and little to no monetary recovery for injuries.
The first thing you should do to protect your interests after a motor vehicle collision is to contact the police so that an accident report is issued. An investigating officer will come to the scene, document the evidence, and take statements from witnesses as well as the people involved in the accident. This accident report can save you from allegations of any shared liability on your part from the insurance company. The accident report will have all contact information from the other driver, vehicle information, and insurance coverage information.
Photographs at the accident scene are equally important in establishing fault, property damage, and documenting physical injuries, especially if vehicles are moved from the resting place after the point of impact to the shoulder or a neighboring parking lot. It is important to document how the vehicles were placed immediately after impact to establish which party was at fault and the extent of the damage. These photos can be used to make a property damage claim with the insurance company, document physical injuries for a personal injury claim, and help answer questions from a treating physician. You may not remember your elbow hitting the dashboard of the vehicle in the frenzy of the accident, but a photograph of the bruise will jog your memory.
Many people do not even realize they were injured at the scene. Many people only begin to realize their injuries after the shock of the wreck and the adrenaline has worn off. This may take a few hours to even a few days before the extent of the injuries are realized. Many people may even want to wait and see if the pain goes away with over the counter medications. Insurance companies will use this “wait and see” approach against the injured party and try to claim that they were not really injured in the accident. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor right away.
See a Doctor Right Away
Soreness is extremely common after a motor vehicle accident, especially because everyone tends to tense up immediately before impact. But, even if you only experience soreness after the motor vehicle accident, it is important to see a doctor right away. It is best to get checked out within twenty-four hours of a motor vehicle accident and to tell the physician that you have been involved in a car accident so that it is documented in your medical records. This is important whether or not you intend on making a claim against the other driver. Many common injuries as a result of car accidents tend to not fully present themselves until a month after the accident. Lower back and neck spinal disc injuries are the most common after a motor vehicle accident. If you wait to see a physician until three months post-accident for lingering back twinges, the insurance company will point to that gap in medical treatment and say your injury was caused by something other than the motor vehicle accident. To get the medical treatment covered by the insurance company so that you are not forced to pay out of pocket for doctor’s visits or prescription payments, it is important to establish that your injuries were caused by the motor vehicle accident. The best way to establish this causation is through a doctor’s report immediately after the accident.
Contact an Attorney to take the Burden of Negotiating Away from You
A personal injury insurance claim is a long and lengthy process to navigate. It encompasses more than just your medical bills and your property damage claim. It includes future medical treatment, the loss of enjoyment of life you experience by traveling to doctor’s appointments, and undergoing months and even years of treatment, lost wages, and more. The best way to protect your rights and ensure there is no recovery you are leaving on the table is to contact an experienced attorney who specializes in negotiating with the insurance company and not just an attorney that is trying to settle your case quickly.
It is important to contact an attorney immediately after your accident, as the law requires action to be taken within a certain time period or you lose your rights stemming from the accident forever. It is also important to talk to an attorney quickly because he or she will know how to preserve the evidence necessary to protect your claim. Hiring an attorney will take the hassle of conversing with the insurance company away from you, and allows you to focus on what is important- treating your injuries and feeling better.
The Attorneys at Strickland & Kendall have the real experience necessary to protect your legal rights and get you the compensation that you and your family deserve.