Three Steps to Protecting Your Interests After a Car Wreck
One of the most stressful events a person can experience is being involved in a car wreck. While trauma of the situation is still at its peak, people injured in collisions must engage in critical decision-making at the most inconvenient time. However, the decisions have serious consequences.
Step One: Preserve Vital Information at the Time of the WreckDepending on how serious the collision is and how significant the injury is at the time of the collision, people involved in a wreck should listen to what is going on around them. Try to take note of who is at the scene and who may be providing statements to responding police officers. The officers are usually the only people taking a contemporaneous report of the incident. Given that they are rarely there at the exact time of the collision and are not eyewitnesses, it is important to try to make sure that the information they take down is accurate. Sometimes, this is simply not possible. When circumstances permit, do not be shy about taking pictures of the vehicles involved in the collision. This may be the last opportunity to get documentation of the vehicles at the same place. As cell phone cameras make it cheap and easy to do, take several different photographs. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Step Two: Do Not Put Off Medical Treatment and AssessmentInsurance companies love to point out any gap in treatment. "if the injury was that bad, your client would have gone to the Emergency Room." We hear this even though so many people are terrified of what sorts of bills follow an Emergency Room visit. Although we hear the most plausible reasons and explanations for why any delay in treatment takes place, all delays have the ability to do serious harm for a claim for personal injury. Immediate assessment with later follow up can do wonders for preserving the claims, as it is reasonable for a person to get checked out and then take a few days to wait and see if the condition improves. However, waiting too long can absolutely destroy the causal connection between the collision and the resulting injury. There are many different ways in which insurance, such as medical payments coverage or health insurance, can come into play to address the concerns that most prudent people have about going to an Emergency Room, clinic, or primary care physician after a collision takes place. Delay is simply never a good option.
Step Three: Seek Prompt Legal GuidanceAlthough hiring counsel is not the top thing on everyone's mind after a car wreck, despite the impression one might get from seeing so many television ads for lawyers, getting timely legal advice can prevent certain missteps, such as making a rash decision about providing a recorded statement when doing so will not advance the injured person's interests. After being in a car wreck, there are worries about proper treatment, time away from work and lost pay, and even concerns about transportation. This can all be quite overwhelming to prioritize and address without a fundamental understanding of how insurance plays into the matter. Whose insurance company should step up first, the injured person or the other driver's? How does one go about making this happen? These are just two of what may be hundreds of questions that people have after a serious car wreck. Getting the advice of experienced counsel at the right time is the only way to make sure that these concerns are addressed without compromising a claim. The temptation to wait to find a lawyer until things settle down means that the responsible insurance company can take steps to minimize its evaluation of claims. As soon as the medical situation is under immediate control, seeking legal counsel is the most prudent thing a person can do. This helps ensure that a qualified professional is available to answer questions and take steps to protect the injured person's interests while the injured person takes care of the most pressing matters, such as physical recovery.