If you’re a driver who has been injured in a car accident, there are things you can do from the start to help your case. Here are some guidelines to follow and things you can do right now, even before our initial consultation, that will help us better represent you.
Rule 1: An insurance company is not your friend. We are, and we will fight for you.
Rule 2: The claims adjuster is not your friend. We are, and we will fight for you.
- You need to call your own insurance company to report the accident. You can describe what happened in detail, reporting the facts you know to be true. But don’t guess or make up what happened. If you don’t know for certain, you should just say, “I don’t know.”
- Do not give any statements to any other insurance company adjusters about your injuries or about how the accident occurred. This means, do not talk to them on the phone or in person, do not write emails or send messages, and do not give them anything in writing or fill out any forms until you have spoken to us.
- Do not accept an immediate settlement for your injuries. The insurance adjuster’s job is to settle as quickly and cheaply as possible, but that’s usually not the best choice for the injured driver.
- Go to the doctor if you are feeling any pain at all. With a whiplash injury, it is not unusual to feel fine right after the accident but within 24-48 hours, feel increasing neck and back pain. If this happens to you, seek medical attention right away.
- Tell the doctor exactly what happened, where you were sitting, if you were wearing a seatbelt, if the airbags deployed, what part of the car was hit, what parts of your body hit the car, if you were aware that the accident would happen, whether you braced yourself, what parts of your body hurt now, when the pain started and how bad it is.
- When talking about pain to your doctor, explain the pain in relation to things you do every day. For example, “When I wake up, the pain feels….” “When I walk up stairs, it feels…” “When I try to pick up the baby, it feels…” “When I am sitting down, it feels…”
- Take pictures of the damaged car – use your cell phone camera. Include a clear view the license plate of the damaged car in the picture (for identification purposes).
- If you don’t have a camera cell phone, buy a disposable digital camera and email the pictures to us or bring the camera with you when we meet.
- If possible, take pictures of other vehicles involved in the accident.
- Take pictures of any visible injuries you have. Take close ups, but also some wider shots that show your whole body.
- Stay organized! Get a folder or large envelope to keep all the paperwork in.
- Take notes or make a timeline while events are fresh in your mind. Include the following:
- Date, time and place of accident
- Names and addresses of any passengers
- Names and addresses of other parties and witnesses
- What you did in the hours leading up to the accident
- What you did for the remainder of the day following the accident
- Name and address of each doctor or hospital you went to for injuries
- Dates and times of medical appointments
- Prescriptions or treatments that were ordered for you
- Get a copy of the police/accident report from the local police station in the town where the accident occurred. If you don’t have a chance to get the police report before we meet, we will get it for you.
- Check your automobile insurance policy to see if you have a provision for medical payments. Your policy may help pay for medical expenses. Bring a copy of your policy to our first meeting.
- Keep a record of all medical treatment including doctors, hospital, ambulance company, physical therapists, and chiropractors, on your timeline.
- Keep a copy of all receipts for out of pocket expenses such as medical co-payments and prescriptions.
- Keep a copy of any “explanation of benefits” that you receive from your health insurance company.
- Bring all of the above with you to our first meeting.
Final Rule: Remember who your friends are-No one at the insurance company is your friend. We are, and we will fight for you.
Call the lawyers at McEnery Price Messey & Sullivan for your free auto accident consultation at 855-494-8300 or fill out the form.