If you’ve ever had a car accident, you know it can be very scary! When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, you may be giving up rights that you didn’t know you had. Here are 8 things you should do immediately after a car accident.
Emergency medical treatment: If you have not visited a doctor, you should do so immediately if you are in pain or have physical difficulties. Be sure to give your car insurance card to the doctor, hospital or medical center so they can properly bill your Personal Injury Protection Benefits (“PIP”) policy.
Photographs: If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and the damage to the property of the cars. Have those photos saved or developed immediately. This is especially important in accidents where the fault may be in question.
Witnesses: Obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the car accident witnesses. This cannot be emphasized enough! In addition, you should not discuss the facts of the accident with the witness other than to obtain your contact information. You don’t want to look like you have an undue influence on your version of what they saw.
Doctor’s Note: If work causes difficulties, significant discomfort or pain, you should ask your treating doctor about the temporary work restriction. If your doctor has told you that the decision to work is up to you, then you should not be working if working causes you substantial pain or discomfort.
Statements to insurance companies: Do not discuss the case with anyone and do not give statements until you have spoken to a lawyer first. You should keep in mind that you may have to provide a statement to your own insurance company as provided in your policy, so do not wait to call a licensed attorney in your state. If you have been contacted by an insurance company, it is extremely important that you obtain the name, postal address, telephone and fax numbers of the adjuster who handles your claim. Then, inform the adjuster that you will consult a lawyer and that the lawyer will contact the adjuster.
Damage assessment: If your car has been damaged in the accident, have a reputable body shop evaluate it as soon as possible after the damage photographs have been taken.
Documents: collect all documents related to your case, such as medical bills, doctor’s instructions, prescriptions, receipts and accident reports.
Main service: Your main duty is to get comfortable and recover from your injuries. Let your lawyer worry about the legal details of your case. Your physical recovery is the most important.