Motor vehicle accidents are at best an inconvenience, and at worst, a life changing experience resulting in serious injury or loss of life. When you’re involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, you need to take steps to protect your interests. An accident lawyer can help you, but here are some steps you can take to help yourself as well.
1. Report the accident to your insurance company immediately.
In a motor vehicle accident, you must report the accident to your insurance company as soon as it happens. Regardless of whose fault it is, your insurer needs to be aware of the accident so they can take the necessary steps to set up and handle your claim. Just don’t rush to sign anything because you may not receive the full settlement you’re entitled to. Insurance companies try to minimize the amount of payouts, so don’t agree to any amounts or sign off on them until you’ve spoken with your accident lawyer.
2. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t feel like you’ve sustained an injury, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. For minor injuries, go see your family doctor as soon as possible. For more significant injury, go to the emergency room and have a thorough examination. Some injuries don’t appear immediately, so watch for symptoms like aches and pains, or headaches and stiffness to come up in the days following the accident. Report them to your doctor as soon as they occur and make sure you follow up with a doctor visit.
3. Find a reputable accident lawyer to represent you.
Once you’ve received medical attention and reported the accident to the insurance company, find an accident lawyer experienced in the type of accident you’ve been involved in. Look for one who offers a free initial consultation so you can talk to them without worrying about getting a large bill for their time. Ask them what they can do to help you and what other services they provide, such as filling in complicated forms.
4. Keep a log of your injuries and treatments.
Start a journal as soon as possible after the accident. Write down how you are feeling, what pains you experience each day, what activity you were doing when the pain occurred and any other issues you have which may be a result of the accident. Keep track of all medications you take, even if it’s just an aspirin for minor pain. Document if you’re unable to sleep or do your work and make note if you find you can’t concentrate or focus on your daily tasks.
5. Let your lawyer do the heavy lifting.
An accident lawyer will wade through the legal process with the insurance companies on your behalf. Often the insurance company just wants you to go away quickly and quietly, with the most minimal settlement possible. An accident lawyer will protect your long-term interests and ensure you receive a settlement that is appropriate to your situation.