Handling the stress of a car accident is made even more difficult if you suffer injuries. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with the insurance adjusters. Adjusters often try to settle claims quickly and for as little as possible. The problem with accepting the adjuster's first offer is that it can sometimes take weeks, if not months, before the full extent of your recovery from any injuries is known. The following tips can help you get everything you are legally owed after an accident.
Tip #1: File An Accident Report
Sometimes officers aren't called to the scene for a minor accident, but even minor fender benders can result in injuries and damage to your vehicle. It's best to call the police to the scene for any accident, but if this isn't possible you will need to handle the reporting yourself. If a report isn't filed at the scene, visit the police station and file a report as soon as possible. Include photographs of the damage and the accident scene.
Tip #2: Gather Information At The Scene
While the police will generally collect evidence and witness information, they may not immediately give this information to you. For this reason, it is in your best interest to take down witness names and numbers at the scene if you are able. Also, make sure that you photograph the scene before the cars are moved. These photographs may be necessary later if fault comes into question.
Tip #3: Get Representation
One of the first things that you should do once you get home is contact a lawyer. Chances are the insurance adjusters will be calling, and it's best to avoid talking to the adjusters until you have representation. A car accident attorney can handle the insurance adjusters so that you don't make the mistake of settling too early or for too little. If you do speak with an adjuster, avoid saying anything that could make it look like you were at fault in the accident.
Tip #4: Make A Doctor's Appointment
It's a good idea to visit your doctor as soon as possible, even if you initially feel fine. Impact injuries to muscles and tendons, such as whiplash, may not show any outside symptoms for several days. Deep bruises and trauma may also not be visible immediately following the accident. Your doctor can perform a thorough check and document any potential injuries, and then help you track and treat anything that begins to surface. Keep all your documentation, along with bills and receipts, in case you have to go to court.