If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know it can be very scary! When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, you may be giving up rights you didn’t know you had. Here are 8 things to do immediately after a car accident.
Emergency medical treatment: If you haven’t been to a doctor, you should do so right away if you feel pain or have physical difficulties. Be sure to give the doctor, hospital or medical facility your auto insurance card so they can properly bill your Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) Benefits policy.
Photographs: If possible, take pictures of the accident scene, as well as any property damage to the cars. Save or reveal those images immediately. This is especially important in accidents where fault may be in question.
Witnesses: Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses to the car accident. This cannot be stressed enough! Also, you should not discuss the facts of the accident with the witness other than to obtain their contact information. You don’t want to seem like you had undue influence on their version of what they saw.
Doctor’s note: If working causes you difficulty, substantial discomfort, or pain, you should consult with your treating physician about temporary work restriction. If your doctor has told you that the decision to work is up to you, then you should not work if work causes significant pain or discomfort.
Declarations to Insurance Companies: Do not discuss the case with anyone and do not give any statements until you have first spoken with an attorney. You should be aware that you may be required to provide a statement to your own insurance company as provided in your policy, so don’t wait to call an attorney licensed in your state. If you have been contacted by an insurance company, it is extremely important that you obtain the name, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers of the adjuster handling your claim. Then tell the adjuster that you will be consulting with an attorney and that attorney will contact the adjuster.
Damage assessment: If your car was damaged in the accident, have the car evaluated by a reputable auto body shop as soon as possible after pictures of the damage have been taken.
Documents: Collect any documents related to your case, such as medical bills, doctor’s instructions, prescriptions, receipts, and accident reports.
Main duty: Your main duty is to get comfortable and recover from your injuries. Let your attorney worry about the legal details of your case. Your physical recovery is the most important thing.