Auto accidents can be overwhelming and life altering. If you are injured in a car accident, you can protect your rights and interests by proactively preparing for your case in these 3 key ways:
- DOCUMENT AND TREAT INJURIES
Many insurance claims contain a personal injury element. If you are injured as the result of an accident, you need to make sure you obtain proper medical treatment. You need to follow all recommendations made by your treating physician.
If you fail to appropriately seek and follow through with medical treatment, you may face problems with any claim for personal injuries. You will not be able to properly document the nature and extent of any injuries you claim from a car accident. You also face the prospect of having to address a contention that you aggravated any injuries you claim by not seeking appropriate treatment.
You should obtain a thorough documentation of your injuries from your treating physician. The report needs to include how you were treated, as well as the type of treatment you are expected to require in the future.
- DOCUMENT SCENE
Before anything else occurs in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, efforts must be taken to address any possible injuries. Even if injuries do not seem significant, the wise course is to call emergency medical personnel to the scene.
Often, insurance policies require the filing of a police report following an automobile accident. A failure to call the police and file an official report can have serious, negative consequences when it comes to pursuing an insurance claim. A claim could be denied according to policy provisions if no police report is filed.
In addition to contacting law enforcement and filing a police report, the accident scene itself needs to be documented as fully as possible. With the ubiquitous availability of cameras on mobile devices, videoing or photographing the scene is advisable.
The identity and contact information for witnesses needs to be collected as well. Statements should be taken from these individuals. As with the accident scene itself, taking video statements of witnesses is a wise idea.
- RETAIN COUNSEL
Insurance companies are in business to make money, and as such are inherently motivated to limit the amount of money paid out on claims.
The best course you can take to protect your rights and interests may be to retain the professional services of a skilled, experienced car accident lawyer. In simple terms, the best way to prepare for a car accident claim is to retain a capable attorney to do the work for you.
Some car accident claims are not able to settle, and require filing of a lawsuit. This prospect should only further underscore the need to be proactive about hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you.
A car accident lawyer typically does not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client. As a general rule, when it comes to client payments for a car accident case, an attorney charges a contingency fee. Through a contingency fee arrangement, an injured person does not pay an attorney fee unless a lawyer obtains a favorable settlement or judgment on behalf of a that person.