If you were in a car accident that is not your fault, there are several steps you should take to protect your health and your legal rights.
This is an overview of what you should do when a car accident is not your fault. For legal help after a wreck, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.
Watch What You Say
Resist the temptation to express something that another person might misinterpret as an admission of guilt. For example, resist the natural urge to say, “I’m sorry,” to other drivers. You might be sorry that someone suffered an injury, but if you tell the at-fault party you are sorry, that party might use that to deflect blame to you.
Further, do not give the insurance company a statement without speaking with us first.
The insurance company might ask you to give a written or recorded statement about the accident. Call us first.
The insurance company’s job is to find reasons to pay you as little as possible, so they have a financial motive to twist your words against you to reduce the value of your claim.
Get Medical Attention
Get medical attention right away. It’s important for your health as well as your legal claim.
Even if you do not have symptoms or if your symptoms are minor, go to your doctor as soon as possible for a complete evaluation. Some minor symptoms may be indicative of more serious conditions, so a medical evaluation is important after any car accident.
Follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. Do not:
- Skip doses of medication
- Fail to attend doctor appointments
- Quit physical therapy earlier than prescribed
If you do any of those things, the other side can allege that you caused some of your injury complications or that you would have had a better recovery if you had complied with the medical advice.
Do Not Settle Your Claim Too Early
When you are trying to recuperate from your injuries, it can be tempting to grab the settlement check the insurance company dangles in front of you. Here are some of the reasons you should not resolve your claim too soon:
- You will have to pay the medical bills out of that settlement check. Sometimes people assume that the money is theirs to spend however they like, but then find out that after paying for the ambulance, emergency room, doctor, and physical therapy, there is very little money left for themselves.
- You cannot go back and ask for more money after you accept the check and sign the settlement documents. When people resolve their claims before they have completed all medical treatment and know whether they will fully recuperate, they take a big gamble. If they have a medical setback or complication, they might have to undergo surgery or other expensive procedures. If they already settled with the insurance company, they will have to pay for that care out of their pocket. If they have a lifelong impairment, they will not get compensation for it.
- You may not yet know how your injuries affect your employment prospects. Lost wages and diminished earning capacity are common types of damages in car accident cases. If you settle before you understand the full implications of your injuries on your ability to work, you may fail to recover enough compensation to cover your diminished earning capacity.
Get a Personal Injury Lawyer
A lawyer at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. will communicate with the insurance company for you, including negotiating a settlement. We will investigate the accident and calculate the value of your claim.
We will collect the evidence and build your case for compensation. We will handle requests for documentation and seek necessary evidence from the defendant, insurance company, and third parties.
Save the Evidence
Essential names and places. Keep a list of the places where you received medical treatment. For example, write down the name of the emergency room, your treating doctor, and where you went for physical therapy. With that information, we can gather some of the medical evidence for your injury claim.
Also, record the names of any eyewitnesses who can speak to the other party’s fault and liability for the wreck. We may contact eyewitnesses to secure their testimony later.
Save the car. Do not allow anybody to destroy your car. Inform towing companies or body shops not to dispose of the vehicle. The vehicle might contain valuable evidence that could help your claim.
Items inside the car, such as airbags or seatbelts could be relevant to your claim if a defective auto part contributed to your injuries. Talk with your attorney as soon as possible about preserving evidence.
If your accident involved a hazardous condition, such as a dangerous intersection, arrange with your lawyer to get photographs of the scene right away.
Request a copy of the accident report. The accident report may contain information about how the accident happened and what conditions were present at the time of the wreck. This information could be vital to establish the other driver’s fault and liability.
Get Legal Help for a Car Accident That Is Not Your Fault
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help with your accident claim. Call us today at 404-474-0804 to get your free, no-obligation consultation.