You think it will never happen to you, but because of another person’s negligent conduct, you have been in an accident. It can be devastating. While your ultimate goal is to achieve full recovery, if you sustained permanent injuries or persistent, long term pain, money is the only thing that can compensate you for this unexpected, life-changing event.
There are a few things you can do after an accident to help optimize the amount you are compensated for your injuries and losses. It is imperative that you do these things correctly. If, at any time, you have questions about this process, please call Wilde & Hunt, Prof. LLC at (605) 717-2020.
1) DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT
Get the name, contact information, and insurance information of the driver at fault. Get pictures of the scene of the accident, of the damage to all vehicles involved, and of the injuries sustained by the individuals involved in the accident. Get the names and contact information of all individuals that saw the accident as well as statements from the witnesses.
A vast majority of the time, you will not be able to gather this information at the time of the accident. However, an attorney can assist you in getting this information soon after the accident.
2) DO NOT REFUSE MEDICAL TREATMENT AT THE SCENE
Immediately after an accident, you may experience shock and a rush of adrenaline. As a result, you may not fully appreciate or even notice the full extent of your injuries. Allow medical personnel to examine you thoroughly.
The medical personnel will have more experience with vehicle accidents than you do. Listen to them. If they advise you to take the ambulance to the Emergency Room for further checkup, follow their advice.
It is very common to start to experience pain or discomfort hours or even days after the accident. Once you start experiencing any pain or discomfort, make an appointment to see your physician immediately. The insurance company will use your failure to do so against you.
3) TALK TO AN ATTORNEY BEFORE TALKING TO AN INSURANCE COMPANY
Insurance companies have significantly more experience in processing vehicle accidents than you do. Any statement you give the insurance company will more than likely be recorded and potentially used against you. Level the playing field by talking to an attorney who has personal injury experience before giving the insurance company a statement. If you make a statement before consulting an attorney, you may say something that can be interpreted as an admission of fault which can be used to reduce the compensation to which you would otherwise be entitled. In some states, if your fault in the accident is more than slight, you can be barred from receiving any compensation.
4) CHART YOUR RECOVERY
Purchase a notebook that will become your Recovery Journal. As soon as you are able, write down your detailed recollection of the accident. Then, on a daily basis, you will document your pain level (on a scale from 1 to 10); the medical facilities and providers from whom you received treatment including mental health providers; the treatment you received; the medications and dosages you were prescribed; the exercises and stretches you performed at the direction of your physician or chiropractor; and how your injuries and pain affect your activities of daily living.
5) BE ACCURATE
Most Americans have a natural inclination to be modest to avoid bothering others with their problems. Make a conscious effort to overcome this tendency when obtaining treatment for the injuries you sustained in the accident. The medical provider will document your statements about your pain level and recovery. The insurance companies will use your modesty to deny or reduce the compensation to be paid to you.
6) DO NOT MISS APPOINTMENTS
Keep all of your medical appointments and avoid rescheduling whenever possible. Insurance companies will look for missed appointments or extended periods without treatment to argue that you are not severely injured because you did not obtain treatment and that you failed to mitigate your damages.
7) CALL IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS
The steps you take after an accident are extremely important. If you are not certain about what you should or should not do after an accident, please call me. I am more than willing to give you a couple minutes of my time to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect your claim and get the highest amount of compensation possible. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call!
Attorney Dylan A. Wilde – Telephone Number: (605) 717-2020