After the car accident, there are a few things you need to do. While you generally know what must be done, there are more details you may not be aware of initially. First and most important is preservation. You must preserve the strength of your insurance claim or personal injury case, if you plan to file a lawsuit. And, you need to get medical care for any injuries you have received.
It’s not like you will contact your insurance company at the scene of the accident. But, getting your insurance carrier involved as soon as possible is crucial for a successful claim. Even a minor fender bender needs to be reported to your insurance company. It is your obligation to do so as quickly as possible. Your policy will even state how long you have to file your claim.
Who Do You Notify?
Call the number on the back of your insurance card or call your local agent. Let them know you have been in an accident and they will forward you to the proper party. Most likely you will end up speaking to the claims department where you will discuss the specifics of the accident. This can include things like:
- When, where, and how the accident happened
- The damage to your vehicle
- Injuries you suffered
Write down the name of the person you spoke to, the time, and any confirmation information you receive so you can prove that you filed a claim over the phone. You should receive a mailed confirmation within a few days after speaking to them on the phone.
Also Read : How to Avoid Car Accidents?
What Happens After You File a Claim
From the moment you hang up the phone, your insurance claims adjuster will start working on the case. First they will want to investigate the claim and prove that you have a valid claim to make. Some things they may do to verify your information include:
- Inspecting Your Vehicle – If you are reporting damage as part of your claim, you will be filing under your collision portion of the insurance policy. The carrier has the right to inspect the vehicle and see if it is damaged as much as you claim. They will also require an official estimate from an approved company before they can reimburse you for any repairs.
- Cooperating with the Insurance Adjuster – You are required to cooperate with the insurance adjuster as they investigate your accident claim. Your cooperation must be reasonable, which may include answering extra questions. You can meet with the insurance agent with your own attorney present and you do not have to deal with repeated requests for the same information.
- Examining Medical Records – If you are filing any sort of medical injury, the insurance company has the right and will inspect your medical records. They will want to see these as soon as possible to prove you have an injury related to the accident.
Getting Medical Care
Even if you are not seriously injured, you should see a physician about your accident. Most people do not realize that they have been injured after a minor accident, so they wait weeks to get medical help. But, remember your body responds differently to pain receptors in high-stress situations. And with the endorphins releasing, you may not feel pain even if you are injured. It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible.
Got Symptoms? See a Doctor?
A lot of car accident victims do not feel the injury until the next morning. These stories are credible and it happens to a large majority of accident cases. But, if you start to feel any symptom, see a doctor immediately. Even if it is just a bad headache the next day or your shoulders are slightly stiff, you need to be examined. If the issue becomes more serious later on, then you are not accused of making up an injury; you have detailed medical documentation proving when the injury started and how you took care of it.
Continue Treatment No Matter What
Your physician will diagnose your injury and start treatment. Do not stop that treatment until you are officially released. Discontinuing treatment before you are medically advised could result in a lessened car accident claim. Also, if you try to claim injuries for which you terminated treatment, then a judge may decide that you caused most of the pain and suffering to yourself.
Examine Records for Inconsistencies
Your medical records will be thoroughly examined by the other party’s attorney and their insurance agent. Review your own medical records carefully and if you find an error, have your doctor correct it right away. All it takes is a minor discrepancy to throw off your entire case, such as your doctor listing that you were driving 35 miles per hour, when the police report states 25 miles per hour.
Also, make sure the medical history is correct. If you have a history of muscle or other issues that are also related to your car injury, then make sure that your doctor has noted those in your records and has accurately listed how your accident injury is different than the pre-existing injury.
Also Read : Car Accident Laws in Florida You Need to Know
Hire a Car Accident Attorney
At some point you will have to decide if you want to hire an attorney or not. Hiring an attorney, even if you don’t plan on filing a lawsuit can be beneficial. That is because an attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and can make sure you get a fair settlement.
Most attorneys will offer a contingency fee. That means that you don’t owe the attorney anything unless they win your case, or you receive a settlement from your insurance company. These percentages will vary and an attorney may change their percentage based on the complexity of the case and the expected payout.
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact a Miami Car Accident Attorney Right Away
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, then you need to speak to a Miami car accident attorney. An attorney can assess your case and look over your records to not only tell you if you have a valid lawsuit, but help you negotiate a settlement you deserve.