Four Things to Do After a Car Accident
After a car accident, the facts of your case will not speak for themselves. You need to develop the factual record that proves your entitlement to compensation in the face of opposition from the insurance company. You are not guaranteed to receive a settlement check. What you do after an accident makes a big difference. Here are four things to do after an accident.
Get the Medical Help You Need
Your health is your first priority after an accident. Even if you received treatment at the scene of the accident, you could have immediate short-term injuries to address. You may suffer afterward because things like whiplash could have a delayed effect. Accident injuries can linger and get worse if they are not properly treated.
Your injuries will also form the basis of your insurance claim or lawsuit. It is difficult to file a claim unless you know the exact nature and scope of your injuries. In fact, much of the value of your claim will depend on your medical bills and treatment. This is why you need a thoroughly documented medical file that does not leave the insurance company guessing about the nature of your injuries.
You have another reason to get treatment close in time to your injury. One of the major issues in your claim would be causation. You must prove that the accident caused your injuries. The more time passes between the time of your accident and when you get medical care, the more of an opening it gives the insurance company to claim that your injuries were the result of something else.
Hire an Attorney
The auto accident claims process can be drawn out and complicated. It is not something that you should really be trying to do on your own. In fact, research shows that people who have a lawyer secure far more in settlement money than people who try to represent themselves. Some try to file a claim without a lawyer to save money, but doing so often results in significantly lower settlements or awards that they deserve.
Your attorney begins to help you immediately after the accident. There is only so much that you can do after the crash. If you are in the position where you need to file an insurance claim, chances are that you are injured enough where you cannot handle the details of your own claim. Besides, even if you had the bandwidth, you may be out of your depth when dealing with the insurance company.
The average injured claimant starts off at a disadvantage. Hopefully, this is the first time that they ever needed to file a claim. The insurance company handles claims every day. They know what your claim is worth down to the dollar. They also have adjusters and lawyers on the case, and all of their jobs exist to save the insurance company money. You really cannot afford to be without an attorney.
Keep Your Documentation
The insurance company will not miss a chance to try to downgrade the value of your claim. The more they pay you, the more their profits decrease. This is the institutional culture of insurance companies, and it is the way that they have done business since the beginning of time.
One way that the insurance company will attempt to save money is by refusing to pay for things that are not 100% black-and-white in front of the adjuster’s face. They will take a “prove it” attitude towards your claim, knowing that the burden of proof is on you when you are seeking compensation.
To make it as easy as possible, you should keep meticulous documentation of everything that is a part of your claim. This includes things such as:
- Medical bills
- Your lost wages through payslips and earnings history
- A journal where you document what you have experienced since your accident to show how you have suffered.
One of the largest parts of your claim may be pain and suffering. The insurance company will try to use objective measures to downplay your experience. You can counter them with contemporaneous documentation that could prove exactly what you lost and what you continue to go through each day.
Meticulous documentation will also help your lawyer when it is time to present and negotiate the claim.
When you are about to go through the claims process, you can assume that the insurance company has eyes and ears. When there is a potentially large payment on the line, they have been known to go to all sorts of lengths to monitor you. They have even been known to hire investigators to watch you and access your social media page. Therefore, the less you say about the accident, the better. Do not post anything on social media that may be inconsistent with your claim. You need to assume that the insurance company will find it.
If you do any talking, it should only be through your lawyer. Chances are that your attorney will advise you to do none. There are very few reasons to say anything publicly while the claims process is unfolding.
This also means that you should say nothing to the responsible driver’s insurance company when they call you. In fact, never speak to any insurance company without the knowledge and presence of your attorney. The responsible driver’s insurance company wants to get you on the record saying something that could undermine your own claim. They will use all sorts of tricks and deception. There is no reason why you would even need to talk to the other insurance company. As a rule of thumb, do not talk about the accident to anyone who calls you.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Miami Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, you should hire an attorney as soon as you can. You cannot afford to be without a lawyer for any length of time. Call the Iscoe Law Firm at 800-800-6500 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.