It’s extremely common to be very upset, confused and frazzled in the minutes after you are initially in a car accident. In the aftermath and scramble, you may make a few mistakes that can affect your legal claim. Below are actions you must take to ensure you do not jeopardize your claim.
The first thing you should automatically do is call the police. Then, get as much information about the other driver as possible. Some of Contrada’s clients have actually taken pictures of the other person’s driver’s license, insurance card and, of course, the license plate number of the other vehicle.
Ask the other driver for this information and if they refuse to give it to you, do not become confrontational, as there is a lot of road rage. The police officers will obtain this information.
The pertinent information to gather at the scene of an accident; if you are medically able is:
- Driver’s License Number
- Telephone Number
- Insurance Information
- Make, Model and Year of the Vehicle
- License Plate Number
Under some circumstances it is important to move vehicles to allow other traffic to move forward. It is also highly advisable to move your vehicle if you believe there is a likelihood that you will crashed into again. However, if at all possible, take several photographs of the relationship of your car to the car that hit you before the vehicles are moved. You may also wish to take a photograph of the back of the other driver’s car before the vehicles are moved, because we have had several clients tell us that after they moved the cars, the driver at fault told the police officer they were hit by someone else and pushed into the car in front.
Get Medical Treatment
If you feel any symptoms after your accident, seek treatment immediately. You do not want to give the insurance company any doubts over the cause of the injuries. Once you do seek medical treatment, follow the doctor’s orders, make sure you go to all medical appointments and take any medication prescribed by your doctors. Failing to go to appointments with medical providers often provides insurance companies a reason to reduce the full value of your claim. If the treatment is not helping, tell your provider and be prepared to stop going, if necessary, but let the provider know that or discuss it with your family doctor first.
In the old days, insurance companies wanted people to get three (3) estimates for repair damage but in today’s world, take your vehicle to where you want your car fixed and ask them to provide an estimate and, more importantly, contact the other person’s insurance company directly. A representative of the other person’s insurance company will want to physically look at your vehicle before they authorize repairs or write you a property damage check for those repairs. Make arrangements to have the insurance company representative see your vehicle as quickly as possible.
Do Not Speak With the Other Insurance Company
You certainly want to speak with the other driver’s insurance company about the damage to your car. They will want to come out and see your car and make arrangements for that to happen as quickly as possible. However, you have no obligation to discuss the accident or discuss your injuries with the insurance company. Many people simply tell the insurance company that they don’t feel good and they will talk to them later about those issues. On the other hand, you have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company and unless you are willing to give them a statement about the accident and occasionally about your injuries, they will not honor your insurance contract and they do not have to. Oftentimes people prefer to talk to a lawyer before they have to give any statements to insurance companies and feel free to do that.
Retain a Lawyer
Some victims of a car accident think they can handle a claim on their own. This could be a very costly mistake. Retaining a personal injury attorney has many benefits. Your best interest is always protected and they can help you navigate the very confusing process of filing a claim and are dedicated to getting you the best results possible.
To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.