If you’ve ever been in a car accident you know it can be very scary! When it comes to dealing with insurance companies you may be giving away rights you didn’t know you had. Here are 8 things you should be doing immediately following a car accident.
Emergency Medical Treatment: If you haven’t been to a doctor, you should do so immediately if you’re in pain or having physical difficulties. Be sure to give the doctor, hospital, or medical facility your automobile insurance card so they can properly bill your Personal Injury Protection Benefits (“PIP”) policy.
Photographs: If possible snap pictures of the scene of the accident as well as the property damage to the cars. Have those pictures saved or developed immediately. This is especially important in accidents where fault may be at issue.
Witnesses: Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the car accident. This cannot be stressed enough! Also, you should not discuss the facts of the accident with the witness other than to obtain their contact information. You don’t want to appear as if you had any undue influence on their version of what they saw.
Doctor’s Note: If working causes difficulties, substantial discomfort, or pain, you should ask your treating physician about being placed on work restriction temporarily. If you’ve been told by your doctor that the decision to work is up to you, then you shouldn’t be working if working causes you pain or substantial discomfort.
Statements to Insurance Companies: Do not discuss the case with anyone and do not give statements until you have spoken to an attorney first. You should be aware that you may have to provide a statement to your own insurance company as provided in your policy, so don’t wait to call a licensed attorney in your state. If you have been contacted by an insurance company, it’s extremely important that you obtain the name, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers of the adjuster handling your claim. Then, inform the adjuster that you will consulting an attorney and that attorney will be in touch with the adjuster.
Damage Appraisal: If you car has been damaged in the accident, have the car appraised by a reputable body shop as soon as possible after the photographs of the damage have been taken.
Documents: Collection any documents relating to your case such as medical bills, doctor’s instructions, prescriptions, receipts, and accident reports.
Primary Duty: Your primary duty is to make yourself comfortable and to recover from your injuries. Let your attorney worry about the legal details of your case. Your physical recovery is most important.