The process of filing a car accident claim can be confusing and frustrating. But, with the right information and guidance from a Salem car accident lawyer, you will be able to file a successful claim in no time. We’ll go over what to do after an accident, as well as some tips for those who’ve been accused of causing an accident.
Assist Severely Injured Individuals
As explained by Johnston Law Firm, PC, if you are involved in a car accident, the first thing should be to assist any severely injured party. Offer to call for an ambulance, give them first aid (if you are capable), and if possible, offer your own medical information.
If the person is unconscious or unable to communicate due to a head injury or other serious condition, do not move them unless it further endangers their lives. Instead, try calling the emergency number as quickly as possible so that medical professionals may assess the situation and take over.
Move your Vehicle from the Road
If your vehicle is involved in a motor vehicle accident, move it from the road as soon as possible. This may mean towing or pushing your car off of an interstate if you cannot drive away due to damage. If this causes more injuries, be sure that police have been contacted, and they will help with moving vehicles out of the way.
Contact Police and Begin Collecting Evidence
Whether you’ve been involved in a car accident or you’re filing an insurance claim against another person, contacting law enforcement is important. Depending on your injuries, this may mean calling the police for assistance. Make sure to ask police officers about getting victim’s compensation forms filled out by witnesses and victims.
When contacting the police, collect as much evidence as possible. This includes taking pictures of all damage to your vehicle and injuries sustained by yourself or others involved in the accident. Do not move any objects at the scene if they are part of an investigation until after photos have been taken.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
If you’ve received medical attention within the last 24 hours, always ask for a copy of the records from that visit. If you don’t have medical insurance to cover these costs, do not hesitate to ask hospitals and clinics if they can waive fees or at least offer a payment plan.
It’s important to note here that even though your injuries may not appear severe, it doesn’t hurt to seek medical attention. Sometimes the most severe injuries don’t show up until days after an accident, which can complicate insurance claims and your rights as a victim in court cases.
Submit a Car Accident Claim
Once you’ve received medical attention, it’s time to submit your car accident claim. A successful settlement for personal injury cases can be obtained by working with an experienced attorney or insurance company representative. This will probably occur through mediation and arbitration sessions but largely depends on each case’s circumstances.
Do not Accept Any Insurance Settlement without Consulting a Lawyer
It’s important to note here that even though your injuries may not appear severe, it doesn’t hurt to seek medical attention. Sometimes the most severe injuries may not show immediately, but they can become severe days after. However, you may have challenges with your insurance claims.
Do Not Sign Any Documents without Consulting a Lawyer
Taking the time to consult with an attorney about your accident claim will save you a lot of trouble in court. Even if an insurance company representative tries to get you to sign off on settlement documents without legal representation, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced lawyer before signing anything.
Also listed below are some of the things you shouldn’t say to your insurance company after an accident
a). it was my fault
Although this should be common knowledge, victims must understand that avoiding phrases like ‘it was my fault’ or being remorseful in any way to their insurance. Apologizing to either party, the other driver, your insurer, or the police will make you seem guilty. Therefore even if it may feel like common courtesy, it is necessary to avoid it. This is because such phrases may be used against you.
b). avoid recorded statements
Recorded statements are just for the benefit of the insurance company, not for yours.
Inconsistencies and conflicting facts are extensively reviewed in recorded statements. Remember that you are not required to submit a recorded statement since the information you supply may be taken out of context and used against you. However, you can only provide an official recorded statement if your car accident lawyer tells you to.
c). do not give unnecessary details
Don’t give out information that hasn’t been requested. If you’re not asked how fast you were traveling, for example, there’s no need to say anything. Ensure you do not say anything about your car being modified or that you’re using it for ride-sharing. Keep superfluous details to yourself since they might be used against you.
d). do not reveal that you do not have an attorney
Insurers never have their clients’ best interests. Therefore, Insurers may try to take advantage of you if they know you don’t have a personal injury attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, don’t say anything about it and obtain legal advice as soon as possible. If you have a car accident attorney, this information may lead to insurance treating your claim with greater attention and respect.
e). Don’t offer any names
ensure you do not provide your insurer with any names. This is because they can contact the names you offer and gather more detail on the accident. Thus, ensure you do not disclose any details that may sabotage your claim.
f). do not say ‘im fine.’
If asked about your injuries, don’t say that you are fine or haven’t suffered any injuries until a doctor examines you. Some injuries may not be immediately noticeable, and adrenaline can prevent you from feeling some injuries at first. After an accident, make sure to see a doctor and document any injuries that are found. Furthermore, don’t sign any medical releases until you discuss them with your attorney.