Thousands upon thousands of individuals are involved in both life threatening and minor auto accidents each year. Because auto accidents can be extremely stressful and anxiety-provoking, many forget to take proper actions directly after being involved in an auto accident. Below contains ten recommended steps to take immediately following any auto accident.
- Immediately following any auto accident, individuals should obtain information from all bystanders who witnessed the accident. They should specifically request the full names, phone numbers, home addresses as well as email addresses from any present bystanders. By obtaining all of their contact information, individuals will be able to use any bystanders from the scene of the accident in later trials or insurance disputes.
- Individuals should immediately exchange information with the other driver, including full name, address, phone numbers, insurance company and policy number, make and model of vehicle, vehicle registration and license plate number. Obtaining this information is essential if individuals wish to pursue a claim later on.
- If possible, individuals should also take photographs of the scene of the auto accident. Individuals should specifically take photos of both vehicles that were involved in the accident, including any resulting interior damage; the vicinity of the auto accident, such as distinguishing street signs and intersections; and any physical injuries sustained in the accident as well as any debris resulting from the accident. By taking photographs of the entire scene of the accident, individuals will be able to fare better in any later legal negotiations.
- Following the incident, an accident report should be filed in order to officially document that the auto accident actually occurred. Police officers will also be able to provide essential information in the report when filing it, including witness information, diagrams, any sustained injuries, the contact information of the involved parties as well as their insurance information. Any present police officers may also serve as impartial witnesses in any future legal proceedings.
- Most importantly, individuals should visit a doctor as soon as possible after an auto accident in order to be properly diagnosed. Most individuals fail to go to the emergency room or doctor directly after an accident, or fail to attend physical therapy. If injured individuals do not go to a doctor immediately following an auto accident, the chances of receiving a favorable settlement diminish greatly. This is because if injured individuals pursue a personal injury claim yet have no supporting medical evidence, the insurance companies will argue that they were not injured in the first place.When visiting a doctor, individuals should not minimize their injuries no matter how minor they may be â€“ any and all pain, swelling, bruising and/or discomfort should be disclosed. This is because, later on, any pain or discomfort experienced could worsen if left untreated.
- Individuals should not give a recorded statement to an insurance company, given that a recorded statement allows an insurance company to obtain information that may be used against individuals at a later time. Insurance adjusters are generally trained to ask questions that may tend to portray the victim as the cause of the auto accident. Instead, individuals should hire a personal injury attorney prior to giving a recorded statement to an insurance company.
- Individuals should scrutinize all initial appraisals conducted by an insurance company, given that insurance companies may intentionally underestimate individualsâ€™ repair costs and/or base the repair estimate on the use of refurbished or used auto parts. They should review all initial insurance appraisals with their personal injury attorneys.
- Victims of auto accidents are compensated for expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Therefore, individuals should keep all receipts of purchases pertaining to the accident because they can be reimbursed for lodging, medicine purchases, gas mileage, any medical equipment purchased and other accident-related expenses. Without proof of purchases, i.e. receipts, individuals will not receive compensation. All accident-related receipts should be given to the individualsâ€™ personal injury lawyers.
- Individuals should not, under any circumstances, sign a release or waiver without first consulting their personal injury attorney. Individuals who sign any release and/or waiver prior to discovering the full extent of their losses and being advised of their legal rights may receive significantly less compensation than they may be entitled to.
- Individuals should not accept any checks labeled as â€śfinal paymentâ€ť without first consulting their personal injury attorneys. By accepting a final payment check before discovering the total extent of their losses, individuals may receive significantly less compensation than they may be entitled to.
By following these above steps when an auto accident occurs, individuals will be able to successfully pursue and receive the settlement to which they are entitled. However, individuals should also make sure to seek out an experienced, highly regarded, and professional personal injury attorney so that they may increase their chances of receiving full compensation for their personal injury.
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