According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 39,107 people died in motor vehicle-related accidents. That same year, medically consulted injuries caused by car crashes were estimated to cost $463 billion, including medical expenses, property damage, wage and productivity losses, and administrative expenses.
Unfortunately, insurance providers tend to offer the lowest settlement they can get away with, which means it’s unlikely to cover the full extent of expenses that result from motor vehicle accidents. One of the primary reasons most people aren’t adequately compensated is that they simply don’t have the necessary knowledge of the legal process.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you should do if you’ve been injured in a car accident is to call 911. It’s important that a police report be filed either way as it will be valuable if a claim needs to be filed with your insurer. If possible, pull your vehicle over to a safe place nearby, preferably one that is well-lit where others will be able to see you.
If the accident was a minor fender bender and your injuries are minimal or you don’t notice any right away, you should contact your doctor to make an appointment. Sometimes injuries from accidents don’t show up right away and if you don’t get medical attention, complications could result and it may be more difficult to prove your claim. For example, whiplash can occur due to the forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck, common in rear-end collisions. This can cause neck stiffness, pain, and loss of range of motion. Oftentimes, symptoms don’t develop for a while, some within 24 hours, but others can take several days. Head injuries can be “invisible” too, causing delayed symptoms like difficulty concentrating, headaches, or mood swings.
The bottom line is that any time you’re considering making an injury claim, you shouldn’t wait long before seeing a healthcare professional.
Document and Protect Evidence
In order to be properly compensated for any injuries that have resulted from the accident, you’ll have to be able to prove that you were actually hurt when it happened. That means it’s essential to document everything you can, assuming your injuries don’t prevent you from doing so. As soon as you’re able, take photos of all damage to the vehicles involved, the accident site, any conditions that might have contributed to it, and your injuries. Photos that show how your injuries are affecting your life afterward will be valuable too.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, but don’t discuss the accident as you could say something that may be used against you later.
Contact Your Insurer and Get Legal Help
You’ll want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to expedite the claims process. They may also be able to help with other services covered in your policy, such as providing a rental car while your vehicle is getting repaired.
As dealing with insurers can be a daunting task, unless the damage was minimal and your injuries minor, you’ll want to contact a car accident lawyer for a consultation. Having legal help will significantly ease the burden of the entire process, potentially saving hours that you’d have to take off from work or get in the way of your recovery. As the attorney will have the knowledge and experience to take on an insurance company’s team of lawyers, you’ll be much more likely to get the settlement you deserve.