You’ve just been in an auto accident and now you’ve got a ton of questions
We have answers for you. Here are some of the most common questions and the answers you need to know:
I’ve just been in a car accident! What should I do immediately after?
- Check to make sure no one is seriously injured (if so, call 911).
- Call the police and stay at the scene.
- Do not admit fault, just state the facts as they happened.
- Take pictures of the scene with your cell phone, include damage to all vehicles.
- Get the other driver’s information (including driver’s license number, license plate and insurance) as well as any witnesses.
- Get a copy of the police report.
- Seek medical attention right away if you know you’ve been injured. At the very least, check in with your doctor the following day, as some injuries take time to present themselves (whiplash, head trauma, etc.).
When should I call my insurance company?
You should call your auto insurance company within 24 hours to report the accident. Be prepared to provide a copy of the police report, as well as your own statement about what happened in the accident.
How do I know if I need a personal injury lawyer?
It’s a good idea to have a free consultation with an attorney, as you may be able to recover damages depending on the situation of the case. Generally, you have a case if:
- The other driver was at fault or did not follow the established road rules
- The other driver’s negligence caused your injuries
- The other driver’s insurance policy applies to the accident or you have underinsured or uninsured motor vehicle coverage
Why should I go to my normal doctor if I’ve already been to my chiropractor?
It’s a good idea to go ahead and get checked out by a regular doctor in addition to a chiropractor after an accident, just to make sure no underlying injuries are missed. Some injuries take days to present themselves, so a follow-up visit will make sure you don’t miss anything.
I’m self-employed, why should I get a doctor’s note saying I can’t work?
Even if you’re self-employed, a doctor’s note saying that you need a few days of recovery can be important in settling damages in your case later. It can prove that you had a few days of lost wages as a result of the accident.
The other driver’s insurance company called me for a statement. What should I do?
Politely decline to provide a statement until your attorney can be present or at the very least, until after you consult with your attorney.
My insurance company is asking me to sign a release. Should I sign it?
Your auto insurance company may open their own investigation into the accident, and my ask you to sign a release granting them access to your medical records. However, this could also provide access to other records, like employment, etc. Be sure to consult with your attorney before signing anything so that you fully understand what access they need.
I wasn’t at fault, so why shouldn’t I post about my injuries on Facebook or Twitter?
Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance company and/or attorney may comb through your social media profiles to see how you responded to the accident. Anything you post can be used against you, so it’s best to stay silent on social media. Even something as seemingly innocuous as “I crashed my car” or “I was in a wreck but I’m okay” can be construed in ways you didn’t intend.
Who pays my medical bills while my case is being resolved?
First, check your auto insurance policy to see if you have MedPay coverage. (Your insurance company should automatically open a MedPay claim if you do.) If you have health insurance, go ahead and let your health insurance cover any medical expenses as normal. If you don’t have medical insurance, or you need to pay for large medical expenses in a short time frame, you can file a claim with your own auto insurance for medical payments. If the other driver is determined to be at fault, your attorney will help settle repayment of medical expenses to your health and auto insurance companies.
The other driver was uninsured/underinsured, what happens now?
First, get the contact information for the other driver, including any insurance information they do have, and provide that to your insurance company. Next, your insurance company may require a signed statement from the uninsured driver stating that they have no insurance, so be sure to get one. If the driver is underinsured, you’ll first file a claim with their insurance, who should settle up to the policy limits. Your auto insurance carrier should then cover the rest of the claim.
Sometimes an insurance carrier will attempt to reduce compensation when the other at fault driver has no insurance. This is when your attorney can step in and help you get the proper amount.
Can I just take the settlement offer from the other insurer and move on?
While it may be tempting to go ahead and take an initial settlement offer from the other insurance company and move on with your life, it’s important to have your attorney look it over carefully to make sure it’s fair and commensurate with your case. Don’t sign anything without letting your attorney read it first.
What kind of compensation can I expect?
This depends on who was at fault and the severity of the accident, among other factors. However, you can typically receive compensation for:
- Medical bills, including emergency room, surgical, rehabilitation and physical therapy fees
- Disability or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Wrongful death, including loss of companionship and loss of financial support
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses directly resulting from the accident
How long does it take to settle a case?
Again, this depends on many factors, such as the severity of your injuries and the extent of medical treatment you will need. In general, most cases settle after medical treatments have ended and plans for any future medical procedures are known. The other party’s willingness to settle and the complexity of any investigations are other factors to consider.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact us for a free case evaluation.