Recently, I spoke to an acquaintance who was rear ended so hard that his car ended up pushed into the car in front of him yet he waited almost 2 days before going to the doctor because as he said, he “felt fine.” I get it. Later on, he experienced whiplash, and a mild concussion which caused him to miss work and school yet he settled on just getting his car fixed. Most of us, when involved in an accident, would like to resolve things as soon as possible, yet the reality is, you pretty get only one shot to make sure you are made whole with an insurance company. Yet time and time again, most fail to follow these 5 tips.
- Go to the doctor. That is by far the biggest mistake people make as your health should always be the main consideration after an accident. At most, the inconvenience of a a simple doctor visit could save you time and money later on down the road. You should be aware that failing to seek medical attention after an accident can sometimes reduce the amount of damages you are able to recover. As the injured party, you may have a duty to “mitigate your losses.” This means that you must take steps to ensure that the injury does not cause any further injuries or economic losses.
- File a Police Report. Again, most drivers just exchange information and drive off rather than wait for the police. Filing a police report can help ensure that you have records of important information. This may include the names and contact information of other parties that were involved. Also, the report itself can serve as a record of the important facts involved in the accident. The police report can be used in court if a lawsuit arises.
- Be Aware of what you and the other driver says. You are under no duty to state whose fault the injury was or to offer additional information. Avoid making statements that might make the situation more complicated, and avoid creating conflicts in relation to the event. However, if the other party admits liability, document it in the police report or write it down.
- Keep Accurate Records And Document The accident. These may include hospital bills, medical diagnosis statements, bills related to property damage, and insurance records. You may also need to maintain records of lost wages if the injury has caused you miss work. It’s also a good idea to make a written account of the injury, especially while the events and facts are still fresh in your recollection.
- Do Not Settle or Sign Anything You Do NOT understand. This is an area that people I know give up all their rights and get under-compensated for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. Remember, Insurance companies are for profit businesses and will do whatever they can to limit their liability.