I WAS JUST INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT…WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Most people who are injured in a car accident quickly realize that trying to deal with the insurance companies on their own is not pleasant. All too often I have met with clients who have been trying to navigate the insurance maze on their own only to realize that they were going around in circles with no clear path to resolving their claims. The familiar story usually goes like this: “I was in a car accident several months ago. The insurance company said I don’t need a lawyer, they’ll take care of everything but my car still isn’t fixed, my medical bills are not getting paid and the insurance representative wants me to sign all kinds of forms to get my medical reports. What should I do?”
If you are involved in a car accident, always report the accident to the police so that a proper report can be prepared. That report will be important to help determine who is responsible for the accident. It will record the driver and owner information as well as the insurance policy in place for all vehicles involved in the accident. It will list witnesses who may be helpful to help unravel disputes on how the accident happened and will have a general description of the accident location and the conclusion of the officer as to fault. It may result in the issuance of a ticket to one or more of the drivers involved in the accident.
If you are able to safely take photographs of the vehicles and the scene, you can do so in order to preserve that information in the event there is a dispute as to how the accident happened, or what damage was caused in the accident. Of course, if doing so will place you or anyone else at risk, you should not do so.
If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort at the scene, you should notify the police officer or other first responder of those symptoms, and should be promptly checked out by any EMT’s or other emergency medical personnel who respond to the scene, and you should never decline recommended medical attention, including a trip to a Hospital Emergency Department if necessary.
Most importantly, what you should do after the police investigation is complete and before you speak with any claims representative or sign any forms is to contact an attorney experienced in injury matters and allow him or her to assist you in unraveling the insurance issues that are otherwise likely to cause you as much pain as the physical injuries from the accident.