Once you get over the initial shock and medical treatment, your thoughts begin to turn to what’s next? How does this work exactly? First and foremost, make sure you get the medical treatment you need. Follow your doctor’s instructions. After that, you or a friend or loved one should help you take the initial steps. You should take pictures of any bruising or injuries. You should take pictures of any property damage to your car or truck. Later, when an insurance company or a defense lawyer tries to downplay the severity of the accident you were in, you can whip out your pictures and say, “not so fast, my friend!” A picture is truly worth a thousand words.
Additionally, you should notify your (yes your) automobile insurance company. “But I wasn’t at fault!” you say. The reason you want to do this is to make sure you trigger uninsured motorist coverage (a/k/a underinsured motorist coverage) if you need it. Your policy will likely have contractual provisions that require you to notify them within thirty (30) days of the accident. If it has been more than thirty days, don’t stress, just notify them as soon as possible. But won’t this raise my rates? No. You weren’t at fault, and additionally, who cares? If they do that, you switch to any number of other insurers willing to take your premiums. You paid for your insurance for this specific occurrence, and now you need it. You shouldn’t feel guilty about using it.
Once the insurance companies are notified, you may get a call from an insurance adjuster. Warning! They may want to take your recorded statement, and you need to be very careful what you say. They may try to get you to downplay your injuries or attempt to get you to admit that you were at fault or partially at fault for the accident. Having a lawyer present during the recorded statement will ensure that your rights are protected and you don’t answer any unfair questions.
At any stage of the above, you may want to seek help from a personal injury attorney. We can help you with making sure you collect and preserve evidence, notify all the insurance companies who may have coverage for the accident, and sit with you during the telephonic recorded statement (if we agree that you should do one). In addition, all of this can be done at no cost to you! We handle claims like these on a contingency fee basis, so there is no charge to you unless we recover from the insurance companies.
Call Kenneth B. Crawford for a free consultation today! The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice needs to be tailored to your specific factual situation.