Victims of car accidents are often in situations that they don’t understand or know how to deal with. In addition there may be medical issues or insurance questions. To protect your rights, you need to know what to do after an accident.
The personal injury attorneys at Oxner + Permar have decades of experience helping accident victims get fair compensation for their injuries. Here are a few tips about what to do if you are in a car wreck.
- 1. Gather Information:
- a. At the accident: Get, or ask someone else to get, pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved. Get the names and phone numbers of people who saw the accident.
- b. A few days later: Get a copy of the police officer’s accident report. This report typically includes what each person said, any witness comments, and a picture showing the vehicles positions. The report may be available online within a few days after the accident. The accident reports are helpful but sometimes incomplete or not quite accurate.
- 2. Document your injuries: If you go to the hospital be sure to tell your doctors everywhere you hurt. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that your doctor understands exactly what your problems are. It is important to know that the other driver’s insurance company is not going to pay your medical bills, or pay you anything, until your case settles. So, if you have health insurance – use it! Using your health insurance will allow you to get medical care when you need it and keep your medical providers from sending your bills to collection agents.
- 3. Expect a phone call: You may also receive a telephone call a day or two after the accident from an insurance adjuster who represents the other vehicle’s driver. Adjusters typically ask detailed questions about how the accident happened, the extent that your vehicle was damaged, and the nature of your injuries, if any. Be aware, however, that some of the questions asked by the adjuster are designed to determine whether you may have done anything that would indicate that you were at fault. For this reason you may wish to decline speaking to the adjuster beyond telling the adjuster that you were injured, you need a rental vehicle, and/or that you need to have your vehicle repaired, until you have the chance to speak with an attorney.
- 4. Call your insurance company. Ask your insurance agent if you have “Medical Payments” coverage on your policy. This type of insurance may pay $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or more towards your medical bills. That money can help you to pay for deductibles and co-pays that begin piling up after an accident.
Don’t worry! Now you know what to do if you’re the victim of a car accident. We hope it never happens to you but if it does you can always give us a call to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.