Car accidents happen suddenly and often end within seconds, but the resulting injuries and damage may endure for weeks or months. Injured parties may need to file a personal injury insurance claim with their coverage provider, but they must proceed carefully and with a full understanding of how insurance companies work. Not only does Jason Stone Injury Lawyers help car accident victims recover fair damages from the at-fault party, but we also help our clients navigate the car insurance process.
Documenting the Accident Scene
After the accident, those involved should check themselves, their passengers and all others for injuries, summoning paramedics for anyone with apparent injuries. Next, parties should have the police come to the scene to make an official report of the collision. While waiting for the authorities, it’s a good idea to document the accident scene:
- Take images of all damaged vehicles from various angles and distances, to add perspective.
- Take pictures of injuries sustained in the accident.
- Gather written or verbal statements from witnesses.
- Capture images of nearby traffic lights, road conditions, traffic signs and the weather.
- Take pictures of the vehicle’s interior.
- Exchange contact information from all parties involved in the accident, including driver’s license numbers, insurance information and license plate numbers
While motor vehicle collision victims may feel tempted to accept blame for the accident, they should not assume fault, discuss their actions immediately before the incident or otherwise make statements. The police and insurance professionals have the experience and resources needed to establish fault. Until then, all parties should remain silent.
Receiving Medical Care
Even after a minor fender bender that barely leaves a dent in a car, someone could sustain an injury. No matter the force of impact or damage, car crash victims owe it to themselves to see a medical professional for a full examination. Sometimes, car accident injuries take several days or weeks to appear. When parties do not receive medical care after an accident, insurance representatives may assume they did not sustain injuries. If someone later backtracks and says she or he endured harm, the insurance company may grow suspicious.
Those who receive a diagnosis for car crash injuries must follow their doctor’s orders, attend all follow-up visits and take prescribed medication. Sometimes, it makes sense for parties to keep a journal of their injuries and track their recovery, to help strengthen their personal injury claim.
Because medical care professionals sometimes make mistakes, parties may consider seeking a second opinion if their injury symptoms do not clear. Some car crash injuries share similar symptoms.
Common Car Crash Injuries
It may help to know common car crash injuries, so victims and their medical team know what to look for. The force of a high-speed accident may injure delicate organs and cause internal bleeding, which requires prompt medical care. High-speed accidents may also break a person’s bones, especially if an individual’s arm becomes trapped inside the car or a tightened seatbelt squeezes against fragile ribs. Depending on the bone break, a person may require surgery to heal fully.
If an unsecured object inside the car hits a person in the head during the accident, or if a victim slams her or his skull against a window, the dashboard or the steering wheel, the impact could trigger a traumatic brain injury. TBIs may shift the way a person understands emotions and processes information, which is why those involved in an auto accident must see a doctor sooner rather than later.
Other than physical injuries, a car collision may leave psychological injuries in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients recover from some brain injuries fully, but others take a lifetime to treat.
Speaking With Insurance Companies
Car crash victims must contact their insurance provider as quickly as possible after an accident. Usually, a representative asks several questions about the incident, and she or he may take a recorded statement. If the accident damaged the policyholder’s vehicle, the insurance provider could send an adjuster to assess the damage. Some insurance policies provide a rental car while the policyholder’s car remains in the repair shop. It also makes sense for those involved in a motor vehicle accident to contact the other driver’s coverage provider.
While car insurance may keep an unfortunate incident from spiraling out of financial control, policyholders deserve to understand the truth about insurance companies. For instance, coverage providers may attempt to use a person’s words against him or her. For that reason, parties may want to refrain from talking to insurance representatives. It may also make sense to decline to give a provider access to employment and medical records until after finishing treatment.
Because insurance providers often offer low-ball settlements, anyone involved in an auto accident must understand how much she or he stands to receive in damages. That way, they know when to accept an insurance representative’s offer and when to keep negotiating or turn the matter over to a legal professional. Common damages injured parties may collect include:
- Vehicle damage
- Car rental
- Personal property damaged in the accident
- Out-of-pocket expenses, such as using a rideshare service to get home after the accident
Coverage providers base settlements on evidence provided by injured individuals, which is why it makes sense to document the accident scene thoroughly. Parties should also carefully track and document all expenses related to the accident.
Taking Legal Action
When insurance companies block injured parties from collecting a fair settlement, car accident victims may have little choice but to escalate the matter and secure legal representation. Motor vehicle accident attorneys know the tactics and tricks insurance providers use, such as offering settlements that seem fair at face value but do not account for future medical expenses. Plaintiffs deserve to focus on recovering from their injuries, not deal with providers who only protect their most favorable interests.
With help from a legal advocate, injured parties have someone in their corner to handle all correspondence with the insurance representative, which means plaintiffs need not worry about every word exchanged with the company. Another reason for victims to consider letting a lawyer step in is that the collision may involve multiple at-fault parties. For example, say a negligent motorist ran a stop sign and plowed into another car with faulty brakes. Not only does the driver bear fault, but the company that manufactured the defective brakes could bear liability, too.
If the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, harmed victims may have little choice but to take legal action to recover fair compensation. Law firms focused on motor vehicle accidents know which documents to file, deadlines to meet and rights to protect when clients must sue negligent parties. While an irresponsible motorist may claim she or he does not have the financial resources to pay a settlement, attorneys know how to uncover hidden assets.
Phone Stone Today
Jason Stone Injury Lawyers does not want those harmed in a car accident to forgo their rights or navigate personal injury insurance claims alone. With our Stone Cold Guarantee, we do not receive a dime of payment until our clients do. We make ourselves available 24/7, and we stand ready to fight for our clients’ recovery. To speak with a representative, call 800-577-5188.