If you’ve been injured in an accident, you have a significant interest in taking actions to best maximize your potential recovery. The best way to maximize your recovery is to insure that you have all of the facts recorded, documented damages, and seeking the assistance of legal counsel.
While every accident is different, if you are involved in one, here are some tips of what to do to protect your rights and maximize your recovery:
- Call 911 and Wait for Police to Respond: If you were involved in an accident, the police need to be called in order to properly investigate and document the accident. The driver’s address and insurance information will be included in the crash report as well as any statements. Moreover, as first responders, the police will be able to assist with you any injuries and call for EMS if it is necessary.
- Gather Information: If you called the police, they will facilitate gathering information. Notwithstanding, try to get information from the other driver, their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. Also obtain witnesses names, phone numbers, and addresses. If you’re phone has a camera, take pictures of the scene and any injuries, record a video and statement while everything is fresh.
- Treat Your Injuries: Not only do you need to inform the police about any injuries sustained, but you should also seek appropriate medical attention. Go to the local E.R., urgent care, or even make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. Be sure to provide as much information to the attending physician so that he or she can document and treat your injuries. Medical records are an invaluable tool in establishing that you sustained an injury as a result of the accident. The bottom line is even if you feel fine at the time, get checked out.
- Records and Receipts: Keep copies of receipts of all your expenses and medical care related to the incident. E.R. bills, prescriptions, and physical therapy sessions can be quite expensive. Also, keep records of social events that you missed, such as a family event, party, class or vacation. Additionally, keep a record if the accident forces you to change your routine or affects your hobbies; if you are unable to do things at home, work or elsewhere because of the accident; if effects of the accident hurt your marriage or cause other problems, write this down. Try to make your notes at the time these effects happen.
- File an Insurance Claim: Do not negotiate with an at-fault driver on the scene; instead get his or her information and file a claim with their insurance company as well as your own insurance company. If the driver is uninsured, or underinsured, you may be able to recover under your auto policy if you have UM/UIM coverage. It is not advisable to negotiate with an insurance company without the assistance of counsel and, certainly do not sign any document or release of claims without first consulting with an attorney. A release may cut off all future rights against others, obligate you to repay past medical bills or disability benefits, or jeopardize future benefits.
- Don’t rush to settle. After an accident, many people are in a hurry to accept any settlement from an insurance company just to end the matter. But rushed settlements without knowing the full extent of your injuries and losses almost always mean a smaller recovery and that you will end up paying for some of your medical bills and other expenses yourself. Because of this, it's usually best to settle your case only after you have recovered to your pre-accident condition or reached your maximum recovery. When you reach these points, you will be in a much better position to know what is fair compensation for the injuries and losses you suffered.
- Consult with an Attorney: Either before, or immediately after, a claim is opened, consider consulting with an attorney. Handling these claims can be quite complex and having an experienced attorney at your side will not only protect your interests but also give you an advocate to help make you whole.
These are just some ways to help make sure you maximize your recovery after being injured in an accident. Keep in mind, even a small mistake can reduce the amount of compensation you may be able to recover. Avoid problems by taking the right steps. If you have questions about these or other steps to help your claim, please call us. We welcome the opportunity to help you.
Contact an attorney at Triscaro & Associates today. Please call us for all your legal needs. We offer a full range of legal services to individuals, families and businesses, including personal injury, estate planning, real estate, family law and business matters. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality legal services at a reasonable cost.