When Should You Call Your Car Accident Attorney?
Nobody plans to get into a car accident and we try our best to avoid them. Even if you are careful on the road, there are a lot of external factors that can cause an accident. So if you find yourself in one, what do you do? Call us as your highly experienced car accident attorney, Aronberg, Aronberg & Green!
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
First, you should get yourself to a safe place and away from any further danger. Next, you should assess yourself and your passengers for any injuries. Some injuries are not immediately obvious so it is important to take a moment to examine your body by slowing moving the different parts of your body. If there are damages to the vehicle you should call 911. Be sure to let the police and first responders if you are in any pain so the case can be properly documented.
While you’re checking your surroundings, one of the most important things that you should do is to document what happened. In cases where you are the victim, use your cell phone camera to make sure that you document your injury, the damage done to your vehicle, the other people involved in the incident and the actual scene of the car accident. Take photos of everything because you don’t know what specific items may be relevant to your case later down the road. Having proper documentation will help build a case against the person who caused the accident. If you can’t do this yourself, ask someone who’s with you to help document what happened. You will never know when you need proof.
Try to get the name and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Do not rely on the police to obtain witness information.
After clearing the accident scene, you should follow-up with medical treatment. Most auto accident injuries, including herniated disk and concussion, are not immediately visible or obvious. Sometimes people only feel minor pains at the accident scene which can intensify later on. Insurance companies will dispute your injuries if medical treatment is not sought soon after the accident. Technically, you have 14 days from the time of the accident to obtain medical treatment to be entitled to $10,000 of PIP benefits. However, most insurance companies will “devalue” claims if treatment is not sought within the first 24-48 hours of the accident. We find cases were people go to the hospital immediately following an auto accident yield larger settlement than those who do not–but of-course every case has a unique set of facts.
Do not provide any statements to the other driver’s insurance company after an auto accident. The other driver’s insurance company is not on your side and only owes a duty to their insured. You also are not legally required to volunteer any information to the other driver’s insurance company.
When You Should Call a Car Accident Attorney
It’s a good idea to get a free consultation from our experienced car accident attorneys as soon as possible after the accident. First, our attorneys will let you know whether your case is serious enough to warrant hiring an attorney. If you have a valid claim, our law team will help you collect crucial evidence that may disappear if action is not taken to preserve it. Our lawyers can also assist you in opening up the insurance claims and set you up with medical treatment if you have trouble finding doctors.
It is not a good idea to engage in settlement negotiations with the insurance company before you have a chance to speak with your own lawyer. Many insurance companies will try to get car accident victims to accept a quick, small settlement ($500-$3,500) before it is clear whether the victim was seriously injured. The insurance adjusters do a good job of persuading uneducated victims that there is some sort of urgency and a settlement should be executed immediately. However, that is the furthest from the truth. You should not settle your case until you know (1) the dollar amount of insurance coverage the at-fault drive really has, (2) you have been examined by a doctor, (3) you know exactly how much money in medical bills you will owe from the accident and (4) you have a full understanding of your injury and the cost of lifetime future care. Without knowing this information, there is a good chance the insurance companies will undervalue your claim and you may accept a settlement that is too small.
An experienced car accident attorney will assist you in getting on track for the best recovery possible. All the important facts must be considered before closing your case. In many cases, it is unwise to consider settlement until you are at least 3 months past the accident and it is not unusual for cases to fully ripen up to 12 months following the crash.