Car Accident

You have been in a car accident, what now? First, get the names, address and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. The police routinely redact this information on their reports making it hard to find a witness after an accident. If you don’t get the information at the accident scene, it is unlikely that the information will be available on the police report. Also, use your cell phone to take pictures of the damage to your car, the damage to the other driver’s car, and the position of the automobiles prior to them being moved.

Next, if you are injured or think you may be injured, seek medical attention immediately. The longer you wait to see a doctor the more an insurance company is going to try and use the gap in time against you, arguing if you were really hurt you would have gotten right into the doctor’s office. Do not minimize your injury. Although none of us wants to sound like we’re complaining, if you minimize your injuries to your doctor, the doctor will minimize your injury in your medical records. If your medical records do not fully memorialize your injury, the insurance company has nothing to evaluate the nature and extent of your injuries, and will therefore base its offer to resolve the claim on this incomplete information. In short, if the medical records do not show much of an injury, it won’t be much of an offer.

If you are worried about payment for medical services, many doctors are willing to wait to receive reimbursement from the insurance company. Those doctors will see you without any initial out-of-pocket expense. If you can not locate a doctor to help you, please contact our office for assistance.

Do not give a statement of the accident, recorded or otherwise, to the other person's insurance company about any facet of how the accident occurred or injuries you sustained prior to or from the accident. You waive your rights by doing so.

Do not sign any authorization for information by the other person’s insurance company. You waive your rights by signing this release.

Do not get three estimates to repair your car. You have the choice as to where you want the repair to be done, so pick a shop you have confidence in, and have them do the estimate for you.

Finally, be suspicious of an insurance company that tells you they are accepting liability. There are two parts to every claim: (1) who’s at fault or who’s liable and (2) how were you injured or what damages did you sustain. Just because an insurance company accepts liability doesn’t mean that they will pay your claim. Remember, there are two hurdles you must overcome to be successful. If they accept liability, ask them to put it in writing along with their promise to pay whatever expenses you incur getting well and feeling better. If they won’t that is your first indication that what they are saying to you isn’t what they will actually do when it comes time to settle your claim.

If we can help you assess your accident, please give us a call at 602.424.5547 or contact us online.