After a Car Accident - Dos & Don'ts
Being involved in a car wreck is a scary experience. You may feel dazed and confused, and unsure of what to do next. Our firm provides compassionate legal assistance to clients seeking compensation after an accident. We want you to know what you should and shouldn’t do in order to protect your right to seek justice after a car crash.
What You Need to Do After an Accident
1. Seek Medical Attention
After a crash, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, spinal cord trauma, and other apparent injuries should be treated by emergency medical responders, who will take you to a hospital. However, even if you feel uninjured, it is still necessary to make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. Why? You might have underlying soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash or muscle sprains, that do not exhibit symptoms right away. Furthermore, you may not be aware of more serious internal injuries, like organ damage or brain trauma, which sometimes do not show symptoms for hours or even days after the accident.
If you wait to see a doctor, the insurance company may try to deny your claim. They may say that your injuries were not caused by the crash because you didn’t seek medical attention immediately. By making an appointment with your doctor and requesting a copy of the medical records, you can have evidence to show the nature and extent and cause of your injuries.
2. Exchange Insurance Information
If you are involved in an accident, it is important to exchange necessary information with the other driver. This involves the name of the insurance company and the driver’s policy number. Furthermore, you should write down the license plate number of the other vehicle, as well as the driver’s name and contact information. You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible so the adjuster can begin an investigation into the accident.
3. Gather Evidence
This is an important step when pursing compensation from the at-fault driver. If you are able, you should stay at the scene and gather evidence to support your claim. The police and insurance companies will also conduct an investigation, but it is helpful to have your own records.
Evidence may include:
- Pictures of the property damage (from close and far angles)
- Pictures of your visible injuries
- Copies of your medical records
- Copies of the police report
- Witness statements
Furthermore, you can write in a journal to document your road to recovery. This can ensure you get the settlement you deserve for your pain and suffering. Evidence is important to have if the insurance company disputes your claim. By building your case from the very start, you can protect your right to pursue justice from those responsible.
What You Should NOT Do After an Accident
1. Admit Fault
Even if you think you caused the crash, it is important to avoid apologizing or admitting fault. A professional investigation may reveal that you actually weren’t responsible. Apologizing to the other driver could be seen as an admission of fault, which the insurance company will use to deny your claim. This means, if it turns out that you actually weren’t at fault, you may still be unable to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. After a crash, you should avoid the natural tendency to say “sorry,” and just stick to the facts of the accident when talking to the other driver, police, and insurance company.
2. Post on Social Media
DO NOT TAKE TO SOCIAL MEDIA TO DISCUSS THE ACCIDENT! Insurance companies and defense attorneys will scour social media sites looking for you and the comments and photos you have posted. If you are involved in an accident and post on social media that you feel fine, but later experience symptoms of whiplash, the insurance company may dispute your claim. It will say that you weren’t really injured by the accident, or that your injuries are not as bad as you say they are. Insurance companies may also take pictures and posts out of context to undermine your claim.
Thus, it is important to stay off social media entirely until your case is closed. You should also ask friends and family to avoid posting anything about you, including pictures, videos, and written messages, until the case is over.
3. Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer
In general, insurance companies may try to offer an initial low settlement. Some people just want the incident to be behind them, and will sign a release right away. However, this is not a good idea. Once you accept an initial settlement and sign an insurance release, you may be unable to pursue more compensation later on. This means, if you suffer injuries that were not immediately apparent, or your property damage ended up being more expensive than you originally thought, you will have to pay the extra costs yourself.
Call Our Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Today – (312) 487-2513
Leonard Law Group provides efficient representation to injured clients. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, we can build your case and help you pursue justice. Negligent drivers must be held responsible for their actions in court.
Contact our legal team today to receive a free consultation.