After any accident, it is pertinent to take the following steps to get the care you need and protect any potential personal injury claim you might file:
- Get medical attention
- File a report indicating the cause of your accident eg. wet floor or ice
- Gather information
- Be wary of insurance companies
- Do not rush into settling
- Speak with an accident lawyer
Get Medical Attention
This may sound obvious, but it is important to visit a doctor after any accident, even if an individual believes their injuries are only minor. This is important for a couple of reasons.
First, an individual’s health. Visit an emergency room, urgent care, or a doctor after an accident. Follow the doctor’s orders and continue any recommended treatment.
Second, to file a personal injury claim, an individual will need proof that they suffered injuries as a result of the accident. Insurance companies may deny a claim without sufficient records.
File a Report
Just like the medical paperwork, some insurance companies may refuse to pay for an accident if there is no report, such as a police report or incident report. That is why an individual should always file a report with the local police, property owner, or any other appropriate party after any accident.
It is important to speak with eyewitnesses who can testify about the accident. It is important to get their names and contact information so they can be contacted later to take a statement.
Also, take photographs of the accident scene, especially if there are any dangerous conditions present (such as a broken handrail or icy walkway) that contributed to the accident.
If a tow company is towing the vehicle after a wreck, make sure to ask where they are towing it.
Other information may be available depending on the type of accident and the circumstances of the incident, so consult with a lawyer to identify all the evidence needed to file a claim.
Be Wary of Insurance Companies
Insurance companies may attempt to pay less money than deserved, even if an individual is their customer. Never agree to give a recorded statement to an insurance company after an accident. Insurers may misinterpret an individual’s words and use them against them to reduce the settlement or deny the claim altogether.
Furthermore, an individual should never sign anything from an insurance company without first having a lawyer review it. They could be signing away their legal rights.
An individual has two years to commence a lawsuit and even longer to come to a fair settlement agreement. If the insurance company is pressuring an individual to accept a settlement shortly after the accident, they should contact a lawyer immediately. Once an individual accepts a settlement, they cannot go back and ask for more.
Contact a Lawyer
Before accepting any settlement amount, signing any documents, or admitting fault, speak with an accident lawyer. An accident lawyer can help you complete the necessary steps after an accident to receive full and fair compensation, including gathering important pieces of evidence and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf.