At some point in your life you may be in a car accident and injury may result due to the negligence of another. Physically recovering from your injury is only half the battle. It is likely you will struggle to obtain fair treatment from your insurance company and the insurance company of the party at fault. Dealing with insurance companies can be a time consuming and confusing headache. Immediately following the accident, it is critical you take the proper steps to preserve your rights. Below are five steps to assist you in obtaining fair treatment after a car accident.
- Your statements after the accident matter. If you are not at fault for the accident do not admit fault or even apologize. If you are injured and need medical attention, say you are injured and seek medical attention.
- Document the accident. If you are able, take pictures of the damage to your car and to the other driver’s car. Take pictures of any damage to road signs or skid marks. Take pictures of any relevant weather conditions. Take pictures of any visible injuries you have suffered.
- Obtain information. You need the name, address, car type, passenger’s names, and insurance information of the driver at fault. Further, if any witnesses stay at the scene write down their names and contact information.
- Inform your insurance company. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Failure to timely notify your insurance company may prevent you from pursuing a claim.
- Don’t rush to settle your case. Often an insurance adjuster will attempt to pressure you into settling your case before you have hired an attorney or realize the extent of your injuries. They may act as if they are on your side and say things such as “that’s all I can get for you on this claim” or “I really pushed my supervisor to get you this offer.” Take your time, determine the extent of your injuries, and do not be afraid to reject an unfair offer. Do not settle until you understand your legal rights.