When another driver causes your car accident, it is important to know what to do in the first few days and weeks after the crash. By taking the right actions quickly after your accident, you can ensure your right to fair compensation remains intact. This also means you can hold the at-fault motorist financially liable for the injuries and damages they caused you. Consider following these tips after a collision:
Follow Your Doctor’s Recommendations
See a doctor as soon as possible after your accident and continue to follow their prescribed treatment until they release you. If you disagree with a diagnosis or want to explore other treatment options, be sure to continue your current treatment while getting a second opinion. This is important because, without prompt medical attention and medical records that demonstrate you are taking your injuries seriously, the insurance company is likely to attempt to reduce the payout or deny your claim.
It may allege your injuries occurred in some other way than the car accident, and they are not as serious as you claim. To avoid this, you need medical records that show you got immediate medical care for your injuries and remained under the care of your doctor for the entire time they prescribed.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if you were not at fault in an accident, you likely have only a few days following a crash to notify your insurance company. You will not need to give it full information about the incident or your injuries at this time, but most have rules on each policy that require quick notification. You should also file a claim based on your personal injury protection coverage. This coverage pays out for a limited amount of medical care and lost wages no matter who caused the accident.
If your injuries are permanent or will cause disability for at least 90 days, you likely meet the state’s serious injury threshold and can file a claim based on the at-fault motorist’s auto liability policy to cover the remainder of your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Of course, you should also file a liability claim with their insurer to repair or replace your vehicle. You can wait to contact their insurance, however. It can and will use anything you say as a reason to reduce or deny your claim. We can manage all communication with the other driver’s insurer to protect your rights.
Build Your Claim
Request a copy of the police report and collect other documentation related to your accident. If you did not take photographs at the scene, visit with your camera or smartphone and take pictures from every angle. Document your injuries and the damage to your vehicle with pictures. Take the time to write down every detail of the accident you can remember because you will need it to jog your memory as time passes.
All of this can play a key role in proving the other driver acted negligently, which caused your accident and the resulting injuries. When we go to work for you, we will launch an investigation that relies on this evidence to provide a foundation for our accident reconstruction specialists and others who can provide us with insight into your crash. We will also use it as evidence to present to the insurance company.
Prevent Further Damages
While you may think that a little more damage will not make things any worse when your car is already in bad shape, it is important to take reasonable steps to prevent any further damage from occurring. For example, you should cover a vehicle that has broken glass with a tarp or park it in a garage. This prevents rain from causing further damages that the insurance company is unlikely to cover.
If you take your car in for repairs before filing your property damage claim, you should carefully document all damages. Do this before you leave the scene of the accident, when possible. When you take it in, ask the body shop to document all issues and repairs for the insurance company. Do not forget to save your receipts and all paperwork from the body shop or mechanic, because you will need to submit a copy of these to the insurance company when you file your claim. This is the only way it will reimburse you for the money you spent on repairs.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., our car accident lawyers understand how the insurance claims process works, and know how to handle the insurance adjuster without jeopardizing your rights. Give us a call today at 631-600-0000, and let us review your claim for free.