A car accident is a chaotic, overwhelming experience. It can be even more frightening if you do not know what to do after the accident occurs. By understanding what medical and legal needs you will have after a car accident, injury victims can be better prepared to recover from their injuries and protect their legal rights. This preparation can also make the stressful experience less overwhelming and confusing. The experienced Clearwater auto accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can answer all your questions about the claims process.
The Importance of Immediate Medical Evaluation
Getting timely and appropriate medical care is arguably the most important step to take after a car accident. If you do not feel it necessary to be transported from the scene of the accident in an ambulance, it is still important to be evaluated by a doctor soon after the accident. This is because some injuries can have delayed symptoms or even no symptoms at all. Certain brain injuries are notorious for not causing symptoms until it is too late to seek treatment. By seeking immediate evaluation, a car accident victim can identify any potential injuries which should be evaluated.
Once an injury victim has been evaluated, it is important to follow through on all treatment recommendations from the medical providers. Injuries which are not properly treated can become worse over time. Failing to follow through on treatment can also create complications in the resolution of a personal injury claim. A defendant is only obligated to compensate the victim for pain and suffering caused by his or her own negligence. If the plaintiff exacerbates their own symptoms by not accessing medical care, the defendant may not be obligated to compensate the plaintiff for that added pain and suffering. This creates an unnecessary loophole by which the defendant may be able to avoid paying all or some of the victim's reasonable medical expenses.
How to Protect Your Legal Rights
Most victims are also concerned about protecting their legal rights in the aftermath of a car accident. Having a police report to document the circumstances of the accident can help establish a claim for the defendant's negligence. Often, the police report and documentation are the most important evidence in a car accident case. Cooperate with the investigation and give your statement to law enforcement officials. If you are able to safely do so, it can be helpful to take pictures of the accident with your camera phone. Be sure to obtain the other driver's insurance information from the police officers who respond to the scene.
Once you have given your statement to law enforcement officials, it is important not to discuss the accident with anyone else. Do not post information about it on social media. These statements can be used against you later, in an attempt to reduce or deny your claim. Be especially cautious of the other driver's insurance company's request to take a recorded statement about the accident. While this is a standard part of most claim investigations, it can be used against a victim later in the claims process. It is important to consult with your own attorney before making any such statement. Your personal injury attorney will determine what – if anything – should be disclosed in such a statement.
There are many such examples of small things victims can unintentionally do to harm their case. Because of this, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a car accident occurs. He or she will be able to advise you on what to do and say, and what not to do or say in order to avoid compromising your personal injury claim. An attorney can also relieve you of the burden of filing a claim, establishing the other driver's liability, and other such administrative hassles. Victims can rest and focus on their recoveries, knowing that an experienced attorney is ensuring their claim is handled properly.
One of the most important tasks an attorney will help you with is deciding whether to accept an insurance company's settlement offer, or reject it, and file a lawsuit in order to submit the claim to a jury for determination. There are many factors to consider in going to trial. No two cases are the same, so it is important to get an attorney's opinion on your particular case. Your geographic area, the nature of your injuries, the defendant's conduct, weather conditions during the accident, and many other factors can all affect the determination of whether it is wise to take your claim to trial. An attorney will help you consider all factors in order to make the best decision possible.
Don't Neglect Your Emotional Needs
An accident is a frightening experience. The aftermath is also stressful, as medical treatment and the claims process can consume vast amounts of time. It is important to take care of your emotional needs after an accident occurs. Counseling may be required to help you manage the feelings caused by the trauma of the accident, and help you ride in a vehicle again without fear. It can also help with stress management techniques as you resolve the legal matters created by the accident. Do not hesitate to access this or other forms of help in order to cope with the trauma and stress of an auto accident.