After An Accident: Important Do’s and Don’ts

If you get in an accident, the steps you take after it can be vital in determining the amount of compensation you recover. Taking the right steps will greatly increase your chances of getting the best settlement. Here are some of the most important things to do – and not do – to help get the maximum recovery after an accident.

The DO’s
DO get information from witnesses at the accident scene, including their name, address and work and home phone numbers. After a car accident, get the other driver’s personal and vehicle information plus his or her insurance company name and policy number.

DO make notes of the accident while it’s fresh in your mind. Write down the time, weather and what you saw, heard and felt. In the case of a car accident, make a diagram of it.

DO see a doctor, even if you think your injuries are minor. Some serious injuries take time to appear.

DO take photos of the accident scene. Also take photos of your car (if it was a car accident) and your injuries. Photos can help convey to an insurance company or a court the extent of your injuries. In the case of an automobile crash, photos can also help experts reconstruct the accident.

DO report the accident to the police and to your insurance company (in the event of a car accident).

DO keep a written record of how your injuries affect you, including pain and discomfort you experience as well as any changes to your daily activities. Also keep a record of visits with doctors and other health care providers, lost wages and other monetary expenses caused by the accident. Keeping detailed records of the expenses and pain and suffering caused by the accident can help increase your recovery.

DO call our law firm promptly. We will help make sure that evidence is gathered, witness statements obtained, your claim is filed on time, and your best case is presented.

The DON’Ts
DON’T admit fault for the accident, either at the scene or elsewhere. Statements you make in the heat of the moment may be wrong but can still be used against you later. Consult our law firm before taking any blame.

DON’T give a statement (written or oral) to an insurance company before consulting your lawyer. Insurance adjusters are trained to get damaging statements from accident victims, which they use to deny claims or reduce settlement offers.

DON’T discuss your case with anyone except your doctor and lawyer. You should inform insurance adjusters or other insurance company representatives that you are represented by a lawyer and to contact your lawyer if they have questions or want to discuss your claim.

DON’T change medical treatment without your doctor’s approval. Disobeying your doctor’s orders (or missing your doctor’s appointments) can affect the amount of compensation you receive, as it sends a message to insurance companies and courts that you were not hurt as badly as you claimed to be.

DON’T sign a release or any other document before consulting your lawyer. In some car accident claims, insurance adjusters tell injury victims that a release is only for property damage, when in reality it covers both property damage and personal injuries. To avoid settling your claim for much less than it is worth (and having to bear the financial losses for your injuries yourself), consult your lawyer before signing any document from an insurance company or other person or entity. Remember, once you agree to a settlement, you usually cannot go back later and ask for more money.

These are some of the things to do and not do after an accident. If you are in an accident, making even a small mistake can seriously affect your recovery. Avoid problems by taking the right steps and calling our law firm promptly after the accident.

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