Being in a car accident is a traumatic experience and always an unexpected shock. When it happens to you or someone in your family, here are five things you need to do:
CALL THE POLICE – even if you are not feeling hurt or the damage does not appear “too bad.” The police will capture the necessary information that you will need later to resolve any issues. For example, they will document when, where and how the wreck occurred. They will make a preliminary assessment of fault and determine if traffic laws were broken. Finally, they should also capture insurance information and any witness contact information. A police report is your best evidence that the wreck occurred.
SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT PROMPTLY – cars and trucks are massive machines, weighing thousands of pounds; the human body is fragile. ANY impact in a wreck can be enough to cause serious life altering injuries that you may not initially feel during the adrenaline fueled shock. Many of my clients report no injuries at the scene only to return home and begin to feel the effects of the wreck. Do not delay in seeking treatment – the at-fault driver’s insurance company will attempt to avoid paying for your injuries if you delay treatment. They use delay as a way to say “Maybe the injury happened from something else.”
DO NOT TALK ABOUT FAULT – who is “at fault” for a car wreck is a legal issue, leave it to the lawyers. Many times when a wreck occurs you are in such a state of shock, or maybe even in severe pain, that you are not thinking clearly. It is human nature to think – “What have I done?” However, statements you make at the scene could be twisted against you.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY – insurance is a contract and it is one you are bound to follow. In your insurance contract you agreed to immediately notify your company in the event of a wreck. This not only allows them an opportunity to investigate, it also gives your company an opportunity to help you with things like a rental car and initial medical treatment (assuming your policy offers these benefits.)
CALL MCCOY & HIESTAND – my partner Sheila Hiestand and I focus our practice on helping people who have been injured – and car accidents are one of the most common ways those injuries occur. We both started out working for the big law firms that represent the insurance companies. We cut our teeth learning their tactics and saw how they seek to avoid payment. Now we can use our knowledge and experience to help you. 1-800-254-4444