An auto accident is one of most disruptive and difficult situations to experience in life. When it happens you need to make sure that some key things are done to maximize any potential recovery. Here are just a few things you should do.
If possible, obtain all the information you can at the accident scene. Get the name and address of the other driver and the name of the police officer who investigated the accident.
Write down what you remember happening in the accident in as much detail as possible. Write this down as a letter to your attorney. Begin the document with ... To my attorney. As you remember different details of the accident write them in this letter. The details, you remember now, could be forgotten later on, this is extremely important to do.
Notify your Auto insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Make sure you request a PIP application so that you can get Benefits started. You may lose important benefits and coverage if you fail to notify your insurance company promptly.
Tell your auto insurance company you want to reserve you PIP for lost wages. If you do not do this your emergency room bill and initial doctor visits could come close to exhausting all your benefits. This is especially true, if you had a large amount of tests at the hospital.
Obtain the Police Report. Review it to see if there is anything you believe is factually incorrect.
Obtain rental car and arrange for repair or replacement of your automobile. If you sign a release for the repair of your automobile make sure the release clearly states PROPERTY DAMAGE RELEASE ONLY. (It is best if you contact an attorney before you sign any documents regarding your claim)
Gather all the liability evidence quickly. Evidence regarding who caused the accident is usually found close to the time of the accident when the scene is fresh and the condition of the vehicles can be protected. For instance, skid marks at the scene of the accident will only be visible for a few days to a week after the accident. If the police officer did not take photos you will have no evidence of the skids marks. (This is another reason you should hire an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. You may believe that the cause of the accident is obvious, but the other party will often dispute liability, after contacting his or her insurance company, even after admitting liability at the scene.
Gather all the damage evidence quickly. When you are injured the last thing you think about is taking pictures of your injuries. THIS IS CRITICAL. Get the pictures taken, preferably by someone who know how to take a good picture. The bruises will heal and this key evident will be lost if pictures are not taken. Also, keep track of every piece of paper you get concerning the accident. EVERYTHING! If you spend 20.00 in gas to go to a medical appointment, keep the receipt and your mileage to and from the doctor.
Do not try to settle your own claim without the advice of an attorney. People often settle their case and lose valuable coverage. For instance, case of underinsured motorists claims, If you receive serious injuries and the insurance company for the at fault party offers you their limits, you could lose the right to claim underinsured motorist benefits by accepting the limits without going through some technical procedures required by Kentucky law. (This is even complex for a lawyer who does not do auto claims on a regular basis, so it is extremely complex for a non-attorney).
Make sure you get proper follow up medical care and process your medical bills with health carrier instead of car insurance (no fault) if you want lost wages from your auto.
There are many other considerations that need to be made after you are injured in an auto accident. For instance, is a workers compensation claim involved? Are multiple vehicles involved? What happens if you a pedestrian? Etc. For all these reasons you should contact an attorney to discuss you case.
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