In the aftermath of an auto accident, you will likely be flooded with hospital bills. Recovery from your injuries may require days, weeks or even months of missed work.
Those two factors – your medical expenses and lost income – will ultimately impact the amount you seek in an insurance claim against the driver who caused your crash.
Of course, what you do or fail to do after an accident can affect the amount you are able to recover as well. Here, we take a closer look at those “do’s and don’ts.”
Car Accident ‘Do’s’
When a car accident occurs in Tennessee or Mississippi, the drivers must remain on the scene and exchange personal contact, driver’s license and insurance information. In most cases, they must also report the accident to the proper authorities.
The failure to take any of the above actions could result in a driver losing his or her license, getting charged with a crime and missing out on the ability to file a car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Additionally, after an auto accident, you should do the following:
Do see a doctor and follow the doctor’s orders.
You should get checked by your doctor immediately after your accident occurs. Getting examined by a doctor will provide a clear record on which to base your injury claim. You should get all recommended tests or procedures, attend any follow-up appointments or visits to specialists your doctor recommends and adhere to any doctor-ordered work or activity restrictions. These costs all go into how much your personal injury claim will be worth.
Do report your accident to your insurance company.
One of your first calls should be to your own insurance company. In fact, your insurance policy may require you to report your accident within a certain period of time after a crash occurs – regardless of who was at fault. You should comply with this policy in order to protect your right to file a claim with your insurer (if it becomes necessary).
Do stick to the facts when you talk with an insurer.
When you deal with the insurance company, keep in mind that the insurer will have a financial motive to deny or undervalue your claim. When you speak with the insurer, stick to the basic facts involved in your case. Document your phone call and any interactions you have with the insurer.
Do keep a record of your injuries and recovery.
Keep track of all medical bills and other expenses related to your injuries, including the costs of medications and medical aids such as braces or crutches. Also, you should note how your injuries impact your work and home life.
Do get help from a lawyer without delay.
In addition to notifying your insurer, one of your other first calls should be to an experienced car accident attorney. A lawyer will conduct an independent investigation of the crash, gather medical records and other important evidence and seek the maximum amount through a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and, perhaps, your own insurer.
Car Accident ‘Don’ts’
Don’t delay getting checked for injuries.
Even if your accident is a minor one, you should still seek medical attention in order to be safe. Many potentially serious and disabling injuries carry symptoms which may take days or even weeks to appear. Those injuries include muscle and tendon strains and sprains, whiplash, concussions and other types of traumatic brain injury. Failing to get these injuries diagnosed, treated and documented could affect your health and your right to recover full compensation.
Don’t speak with the other driver’s insurance company.
The main priority of the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be to collect information so it can avoid paying your claim. Any statements you make about the accident or your injuries could (and likely will) be used against you.
Don’t accept or even assign blame when you talk with an insurer.
If you are found to be even partially at fault for an accident, it could impact your right to recover full compensation through an injury claim. Again, when you talk with an insurance company, stick to the facts and avoid giving any opinions.
Don’t talk about your case on social media.
As Consumer Reports notes, insurance adjusters often search social media posts, looking for information they can use to deny or reduce claims. Play it safe and refrain from using Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites while you wait for your case to be resolved.
Don’t accept a settlement offer without a lawyer reviewing it first.
It is not uncommon for an insurance company to make a quick settlement offer to car accident victims. Unfortunately, these offers tend to be for far less than what the claim is worth. Always have an experienced car accident lawyer review any documents or offers before you sign them.
Get Help from an Experienced Memphis Car Accident Attorney Today
David is a former insurance defense lawyer and among the fewer than two percent of lawyers in Tennessee who is board certified. He has a proven reputation for providing the kind of legal representation that gets results.
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