- Call the police right away and file a report
Think of this as necessary documentation and essential evidence when pertaining to your claim. While police will not deem which party is at fault, it will provide important facts involving the accident including all parties’ relevant information that may be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
- Seek immediate medical attention
While you might feel fine immediately following an accident, realize that adrenaline could be creating a false sense of comfort. That mild pain in your back or neck could quickly become a nagging injury that affects you for years to come. Seeking medical attention on the scene can better provide evidence if further issues arise. It is important to have documentation from a medical professional before filing an injury claim and this step is essential to mitigating your losses.
- Only the basics at the scene
Although speaking with the party at fault is often necessary, be very wary of what you say. Never admit fault and avoid statements that might later create conflict. The extent of your injuries is of no concern to the other party. Simply exchanging insurance information is the best route towards avoiding any discrepancies later.
- Keep all subsequent records and receipts
Maintaining these documents is essential to your case in terms of both reimbursement and tracking for legal purposes. Between insurance receipts, property damage and medical bills obtained, it is crucial that you track, follow, and document all transactions. Keep in mind that a single hospital visit will accrue multiple bills from various sources. Don’t assume that the first bill you receive from the hospital will be your last. In a singular visit to the ER, you might receive separate bills from the doctors, nurse, ambulance, and any subsequent tests or scans you may have received. This a necessity when dealing with an injury claim and the lost wages that might be accrued as a result.
- Don’t be intimidated by the insurance companies
Much like you wouldn’t assume the opposing party’s insurance to be forthcoming, also realize that your insurance company might not have your best interest at heart. They will both be out to limit their net loss and the faster they close, the better for them, not you. Keep your interests at the forefront of all negotiations. We would obviously recommend hiring a great personal injury lawyer to handle all dealings with third parties.
- Be aware of what you are signing
One of the most important reasons to have a great lawyer in your corner is to ensure that the fine print is concise and accurate. Many insurance companies will try to limit the scope and duration of medical treatment or release the other party of liability. Other agreements may have you forfeit your right to sue. Without proper legal representation, you could be signing away rights and settling for a figure that only assumes current damages and not subsequent medical issues down the road.
- Do your due diligence and research
No matter the claim, realize that you are not the first person that has been through this ordeal. Familiarize yourself with the basics of a personal injury claim so that you can negotiate at a place of strength. Research and obtain a personal injury lawyer that is specific to your needs and can provide you with the best level of care and service. At Duffy & Duffy, we stand on our own laurels. We always provide free consultation with no added fees or expenses unless we win! Our desire is to be your voice during this difficult time.