What Every Car Wreck Victim Should Know
Jeremy Thurman on September 2, 2010
If you are an injury victim in an automobile accident, there are several important things to remember. Several basic concepts can make all the difference if you, your family or friends are hurt and need help. In this article, I will list the important things to do if you are hurt in a car wreck.
If any party involved in the accident is injured immediately call 911. The first hour after a car accident is critical and can often mean the difference between life and death.
- Notify the police. Often times those involved in a car accident do not want to expend the necessary time calling the police and waiting for them to come out to the accident site. However, as an experienced personal injury lawyer I cannot calculate the times a client has done this only to be shocked when the other party denies any negligence and/or has a new version of how the accident happened. Why do they do this? It’s simple, insurance adjusters are trained to convince their insureds that they did nothing wrong in an accident not involving a police report. The only way to truly protect your interests is to patiently wait for the police to arrive on the scene.
- Get crucial information including insurance and witness information. Get contact information from the other driver and/or witnesses. Jot down their name, address and phone number. Make a note of the color, make and model of the other vehicles, and the license plates if you can.
- Immediately seek medical attention. People tend to want to downplay injuries they suffer in an accident. They will try to “shake off” their injuries and/or medicate the pain away instead of seeing a doctor. However, medical studies consistently show that an injury that goes untreated typically gets worse, not better. Further, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the more likely it is that the insurance company for the other driver will try to hold it against you.
- Remember that the insurance adjuster is not your friend and his or her job is to get you to settle your case for far less than its worth. Adjusters handle thousands of claims a year and their performance is judged on how much money they save their employer. Insurance adjusters often make false promises that they will “take care of you” but when it comes time for a reasonable settlement they renege on their statements.
- Follow your medical provider’s advice. One of the most devastating things that can happen to an injury victim is to fail to follow their medical provider’s advice. When this is presented in the doctor’s records it can severely devalue your case. More importantly, it can have serious health consequences to the injured person’s health.
- Hire an attorney. Simply stated, it makes sense to talk to a lawyer if you are an accident victim. Studies (some even commissioned by the insurance industry which is why you don’t see them published) consistently show that an attorney yields his or her client far more in their pocket than if they would have pursued the claim without an attorney.
If you are the victim of a negligent driver, remember these simple rules and contact an attorney. Most attorneys do not charge for a consultation and if they pursue your case they do not charge unless there is a recovery.