We understand that all injuries are big injuries to those suffering from them.
No matter the severity, no matter the timing, being involved in a collision is stressful and a major inconvenience.
The Questions. The Frustrations. The What Next?
So much happens so fast, you have little time to process everything. Your adrenaline, anxiety, worry, shock, anger or frustration may be surfacing immediately after being hit.
The hours following the accident you may be contacted by the insurance company with questions, forms, statements and the like.
Your car is damaged. Where do you take it? Who is responsible for repairing it? What about getting a rental car?
You’re injured, but you cannot afford treatment? You may not be sure who will cover your treatment?
The insurance company keeps bugging you, and you are unsure as to what to do.
At whatever point you are at with your collision, we will help with the above questions and anymore you may have.
The following are some tips to keep in mind or assist you currently.
What to do at the Scene
Immediately after a collision, it’s chaotic. You are not thinking about all the steps necessary to take to protect yourself. Try and follow these steps. If you need a reminder, then download here , or you may contact us.
- Stop your vehicle safely.
- Check to ensure you and your passengers are not gravely hurt. If so, then call 911.
- Call the Police. Make them respond and have them take a report.
- Get Information for all drivers, witnesses and participants. Get their names, addresses insurance information and telephone numbers
- Use your cell phone.
- Take pictures of all visible injuries.
- Take pictures of all vehicles including the damage, the positions, and scene evidence including road signs, skid marks, etc.
- Use your audio recorder app to record statements and conversations.
- At the scene, tell the police, EMT’s or paramedics of the pain you are experiencing no matter how minor.
- Go to the ER, urgent care or doctor immediately if you are hurt. Even if you are not hurt at the scene of the accident, you may experience pain in the following days.
The Time Following the Collision – The Insurance Company
Immediately report your collision to your company. At some point, the insurance company will call you. Remember the following:
- Do not admit fault to either company.
- Do not give any insurance company, even your own, a statement of any kind.
- Do not sign any documents including a release of claims or authorizations.
- Do not trust the ‘friendly insurance adjuster.’ The job of the insurance adjuster is to protect the company—not take care of you.
- Get your car fixed at a shop of your choice.
Going to a doctor or hospital may be an inconvenience, no fun and time consuming. However, as cliché as it sounds, it is better to be safe than sorry.
So, err on the side of caution. Go get examined immediately. Do not put off treatment and risk a slight injury becoming severe.
Trust your body. No one knows your body like you do. Do not let an adjuster tell you that you could not have sustained injury. The adjuster is trying to limit the payoff so to protect the company’s profit .
Listen to your doctor and get the treatment they recommend. Make sure to stick with the treatment plan.
If you do not have the upfront money or insurance to pay for doctors, there are doctors who will not charge an upfront fee.
In short, you should be overly cautious and visit a doctor. Your doctors and you will develop a course of care to get you treated and back to a point you were prior to the injury.
Demand for Payment for Damages
Once you have completed treatment, the time comes to ask the insurance company insuring the at-fault party to compensate you for your damages.
First, damages are those losses you have reasonably incurred as a result of the collision. Most often, damages refer to medical bills, loss of earnings, vehicle repair, costs of a rental car, and the inconvenience, distress “pain and suffering” associated with your injury.
After the demand is submitted, the insurance company sends a response, and negotiations commence. If both sides reach a number that is agreeable the case can settle. However, if one side refuses to budge, the next step is filing a lawsuit.
Do I have to go to Court?
Filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean you will immediately appear in court. By filing a lawsuit, it requires the insurance company to hire a lawyer to represent the person you sued.
Once everyone is represented, the case goes through a “Discovery” phase. Discovery is each side’s opportunity to find out about the other side’s case. This involves exchanging written questions, depositions and occasionally a medical examination of you.
Once each side has completed discovery, the attorneys will often try and resolve the case. Often courts will require the parties to go to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) like Arbitration or Mediation. Simply, ADR is a mechanism designed to encourage settlement, and your personal appearance is usually required.
If the cases do not settle at that point, both sides will ramp up to get prepared for trial.
Trial and Court
If your case is going to trial, then you will be in court. Although most cases settle before trial, it is important to not be caught unprepared. Trials are time consuming and intense. Today, lowball offers from insurance companies are not uncommon, so trial may be the only recourse to try and get just compensation.
The above is a brief roadmap of a vehicle accident claim from collision to trial. There are many details that are not addressed.
The important takeaway is to be informed and do not let the insurance company bully or manipulate you.
It is advantageous for you to consult with an attorney to get your questions answered and make sure you are leaving nothing on the table.
From the beginning, the Quirk Law Group will give you candid and practical answers. Unlike the insurance companies, we do not believe you are a statistic.
Quirk is different. We treat you like a person, and you get personalized attention and real answers.
Thank you for visiting our “Quirky” site. We look forward to hearing from you.