If you’ve been in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible for a sizable settlement for the pain and injuries you received as a result of the other driver’s negligence.
Given the potentially life-changing ramifications of a car accident, from lost time and productivity to reduced quality of life, don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to make sure you get everything you are eligible for?
Fortunately, there are some tried and tested ways to get the most from a settlement.
1). Get Plenty of Medical Attention
You should always call 911 right after an accident. You’ll want to receive an examination from the emergency room doctor, but don’t stop there: make an appointment with a car accident doctor as soon as possible to get another, more thorough evaluation.
During your time with both the emergency room doctor and later with your car accident doctor, make sure you talk about every symptom of pain and discomfort you are feeling.
If you are tempted to be stoic and “tough it out,” understand two things: 1) you might fail to get treatment for a potentially serious car accident injury or medical complication, particularly one that may get worse over time, and 2) you may miss out on compensation for 1).
Put, the better-documented your injuries and your pain and suffering are now, the better the chances of getting what you deserve in terms of compensation later.
2). Ask for a Police Report
You will want to make sure to call the police, mainly if the accident is serious – whether in terms of damage to your vehicle or property, or damage to you or other people involved in the accident.
While you are talking to the police, make sure you do not exaggerate, misstate things, conjecture, or otherwise say anything that is not the truth to the best of your knowledge.
If you are uncertain about something, say that you are not sure. In particular, if a police officer asks you if you are injured, and you are not sure, say that you are not confident, rather than saying yes or no.
Not only is this more honest, but it is also an excellent way to protect yourself. If you say you are injured, and it turns out you are not, it may come back to bite you.
On the other hand, sometimes injuries take time to manifest – so if you say you are not injured and later it turns out you are, you may miss out on a reasonable settlement.
Ask for a police report to be filed, and make sure to ask the officers for their names and badge numbers. Also, ask for the police report number, and ask for a copy of the report later.
3). Document the Accident
Documenting the accident is vital for establishing your record of what happened, and quite possibly supplying information that no one else will.
If you can, take photographs of the accident, particularly the damage done to your vehicle and any visible damage done to you. Most people have cameras in their smartphones, and one of these should suffice.
Taking pictures is an excellent way to obtain the information you can later give to your insurance adjuster to determine what you should be compensated for.
Also, take the time to document the conditions at the scene. Was it raining, or was the sky clear? Was it day or night? If night, was there a moon or no moon? Were there other drivers on the road? How fast was traffic, and how carefully were other people driving?
Any or all of these details may have some bearing on your case that might help you. Also, painting a better and fuller picture of what happened will help to boost your credibility, whether in court – if it comes to that – or in the eyes of your insurance adjuster.
4). Talk to Your Insurance Company
You should inform your insurance company about what happened as soon as possible. As with the police, tell them the truth: it will most likely come out anyway, and if you lie, you may get in serious trouble and lose any coverage.
Your insurance company can help you obtain an evaluation of your vehicle to see how damaged it is. If you are not satisfied, seek a second opinion elsewhere and then show them the results.
A car accident can be a scary and life-changing experience. If you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, make sure to follow the steps provided here to ensure your best chances of getting the compensation settlement you deserve.