Nearly every ten seconds, it is estimated that a person is injured in a motor vehicle-related accident in this country. Though most do not result in fatalities, many of these crashes can have a long term impact on the survivors. Below are 5 tips for accident victims to help them navigate through the medical, legal, and financial complications that may arise.
1. Medical Care
In addition to property damage, vehicle crashes generally do considerable physical damage. If you’re involved in an accident, seeking emergency medical care is the first thing to do. Your injuries may not surface until days after the crash or you may think that your injuries are too minimal to require the scrutiny of a doctor. In fact, researchers have found that around one third of all car accident victims can develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the form or depression, phobias, and persistent anxiety as long as a year after an accident. Don’t diagnose yourself. Go to the emergency room of your community hospital or to your primary care physician for a comprehensive exam and evaluation. Your health may require it, and indeed, your insurance company may demand it. And in the event of legal complications, here again, you owe it to yourself to seek professional advice.
2. Obtain Records
For your own protection, do not admit fault or discuss the accident at the scene. Instead, if your physical condition will allow it, take pictures, record video on your smartphone, and write down all relevant information about the crash. All of this information will be important when filing a proper claim. Be sure to collect the following data:
a. Time, place, type, and circumstances of the crash
b. Other party insurance and contact information
c. Witness statements and contact information
d. Police contact information
3. After Accident Journal
Whether the claim is settled in or out of court, the more evidence that is collected, the better your chances of a full financial recovery for injuries, pain and suffering, car damages, and lost wages. In addition to keeping all pertinent medical bills and records, keep a journal detailing your condition, physical and psychological, and document time you have to take from work because of the accident. Keep notes on any discussions you have with health care practitioners, legal advisors, and other parties involved in your case.
4. Contact Authorities
All insurance policies require that accident victims notify their insurance companies shortly after any accident. Otherwise, unnecessary delays can result in claim denial. Also, file any necessary state reports, including all of the details with the local police department. In many states, the report must be filed within 10 days after an accident.
5. Protect Legal Rights
In order to protect your legal rights after a vehicle accident, you must act quickly. Deciding accident fault and damages can be a complex process. Dealing with insurance coverage and how expenses will be covered can be frustrating and very confusing. Your insurance adjustor may require your permission to record each phone call as part of the record of your claim. Insurance companies will attempt to minimize their payouts as much as possible. Don’t risk receiving less compensation than you deserve. Contact an accident attorney before making any statements at all.
Don’t wait until you have an accident to become familiar with your insurance policy. Research and record the name and number of an accident attorney in your area. What you learn now will help you in the long run. Then, be a careful motorist on the road, and in case of an accident, be equally careful when seeking or utilizing medical, legal, and insurance coverage. Safe travels!
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell has suffered the physical trauma of an accident and its financial aftermath. Experience has taught her to seek out the services of an experienced law firm. The Steinger, Iscoe and Greene group at http://www.injurylawyers.com/fort-lauderdale-auto-accident-attorney/provides invaluable help in navigating through mountains of legal red tape during the process of recovery. Having won thousands of cases for car accident victims, they have proven their legal team.