WHAT SHOULD I DO FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT?

WHAT SHOULD I DO FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT?

When you are involved in a car accident, you are often in a state of shock. While in that state of shock, very important decisions must be made.

If you are involved in a very serious accident which requires you to be hauled off to the Emergency Room via Ambulance, you are not always able to handle this process the way in which it’s broken down below. You should still remember these steps, to protect yourself as much as possible. If any passengers are with you, alert them to the things they should do, if possible.

STEP 1:
Get out of your car and evaluate the damage done to your vehicle and properly document such damages with pictures, if possible. Locate any witnesses that are nearby, getting their name and telephone number. Get the other driver’s insurance information and any statements made by them. If you can get their statement recorded, perfect, if not remember their statements as best as possible. Any admission of fault by the other driver would be critical to making a liability determination. It’s not uncommon for the driver to admit to their wrongdoings when it’s only you two around and totally change their story once they are on the phone with their insurance company.

STEP 2:
Call the police and report the accident. It’s critical to get the police out to the scene and have them prepare a police report. While the police did not actually witness the accident himself, he’s able to assess the damages, take statements from the drivers and available witnesses and get the insurance information from both parties.

This is very important for several reasons. When an accident report is done, it’s typically very soon after the accident. The cars are often still arranged as the accident occurred, which can show who caused the accident. Furthermore, it allows the documentation of any statements. Most police officers are not equipped with body camera videos which can show any statements made by parties, which is great evidence. If a trial is needed in your matter, it could be years later. As humans, we tend to forget things as time goes on. Documenting everything in a police report and possibly on a police body camera really help with preserving evidence, which can go a long way in helping your case.

A police report, which will typically include driver statements, witness statements, contact information, insurance information among others, really goes a long way in proving your case to the insurance company. Simply exchanging information allows the driver to change his story when he talks to the insurance company. How can you prove what happened if he lies? Another thing, without a police report, a driver may have been an excluded driver, thus barring recovery. In that instance, you will need a police report to present to your insurance company. Even further, without a police report, an insurance company typically will not pay for your property damage or injuries until they verify their insured was at fault. It’s very common for at fault drivers, especially if there damage is minimal or not covered under their policy, to ignore any attempt from their insurance company to call them. Failure to get a statement from their driver can delay the process tremendously.

STEP 3:
Seek medical attention. When the adrenaline from the accident is going through your blood, you don’t usually feel the injuries you have suffered. It’s also common to not initially feel any pain or discomfort immediately following the accident due to adrenaline. However, the body is not totally something when understand. Doctors can diagnosis injuries and perform test upon you to determine if there’s any injuries that you are suffering from.

Seeking immediate medical attention is critical. It doesn’t mean you need to go via ambulance or to the emergency room on the same day, if not needed. You only need to go via ambulance or to the emergency room if those things are necessary in your opinion. Seeking immediate medical attention can be hours later, or even days later. You typically want to avoid waiting weeks or months after an accident to seek medical treatment. In Louisiana, in addition to proving the other driver is at fault for the accident, you must also prove you suffered damages and that those damages were caused by the accident. The longer you wait to seek medical treatment following an accident, the harder it will be for a treating physician to relate your symptoms to the motor vehicle accident and the harder it will be for the insurance company to believe your injuries are related to the accident.
It’s important to document any and all injuries you are suffering from, including any discomfort and the effects those injuries are having on you to your treating physician. In the eyes of the insurance companies, “if it’s not in the medical records, it is true.” Knowing that’s how insurance companies operate, it’s critical to detail everything to your treating physician and make sure he/she put that in your chart.

We understand a common concern for medical treatment is payment. After an accident, most facilities understand the process and are willing to accept a Letter of Protection from an attorney office. Don’t let the thought of medical bills deter you from getting better. Your primary focus should be getting better. In the end, the at fault driver insurance company will reimburse you for the medical expenses, whether prepaid or under a Letter of Protection.

STEP 4:
You should initiate a claim against the other insurance company for your property, including your automobile and any other property damages in the vehicle. Like most attorneys, we don’t handle the property damage aspect of your case. Louisiana has very strict laws on how insurance companies must handle property damage claims, so they typically are handled quickly and fairly. If any problem arises, our office is more than willing to lend a helping hand to make things happen.

DON’T GIVE THE OTHER DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY A RECORDED STATEMENT.
If they need a recorded statement to take care of your property damage, you should consult with an Attorney immediately. Whatever you do, don’t feel obligated to give a recorded statement. Our office policy is we will not allow our clients to give a recorded statement unless the insurance company allows us to take a recorded statement of their driver, which will never happen. If there’s no police report, there is typically a need to give a statement to validate the claim but this should be done under the direction of an attorney protecting your interest.

STEP 5:
Consult with an Experience Personal Injury Law Firm. Our office provides free consultation. It cost you nothing. Take the time to see what an attorney thinks about your case and get advice. Even if you ultimately decide to handle your claim yourself, which I advise against, we can give you critical information to help you make the most of your situation.
If you are injured, don’t attempt to take on the insurance company alone. They are skilled and have the resources to take advantage. We typically hear folks saying “I don’t want to give those attorney’s 33.3% of my recovery,” which we do understand. We typically respond to that in a couple ways. First, unless you are settling for an amount which is fair and reasonable, you ARE giving someone a percentage of your recovery, maybe more than what 33.3% would have cost you. Let’s say for example that you suffered from an injury which a fair settlement would be $30,000. Let’s also assume that the insurance company offers you $12,000. In that scenario, there’s $18,000 that’s unrecovered. That’s $18,000 that’s still in the pockets of the very insurance company that failed to give you the full value of your claim. If your medical expenses were only $2,000, you would walk away with $10,000. Let’s assume you got an attorney and settled for the full value, $30,000. Under a typical contingency fee of 33.3%, the attorney fee would be $10,000. There’s now a balance of $20,000. Even if the medical bills were $5,000, you would still walk away with $15,000. That’s $5,000 more than what you had in the other scenario and the insurance company doesn’t continue to profit from underpaying you, while also continuing to charge very high insurance premiums.
Next time you think that I rather 100% of my money rather than paying an attorney 33.3%, think about the bottom line numbers. An attorney will increase the value of your case and make sure your are compensated fairly. Insurance companies NEVER pay an unrepresented claimant full value. They essentially account for a minimum of 30-50% reduction due to the claimant not having to pay attorney fees.

Consult with an attorney, it doesn’t cost you anything. Make sure you are protecting yourself.

Conclusion:
There’s a ton of important things that should be done to assure that you have a favorable outcome following an accident. If you follow the steps previously mentioned, you can be sure that you will get the most from your accident.

Even if you were unable to follow all of the steps, you should never settle a case without speaking with an attorney. It doesn’t cost you anything but could mean more money in your pocket. Even if it’s a simple call to see if what their offer is fair, it’s worth it.

CONTACT A NEW ORLEANS PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you have suffered from a brain injury, you should have a New Orleans lawyer represent you. Brain injuries are some of the most severe type of injuries one can suffer as a result of an auto accident. An experienced lawyer from The Burrell Firm LLC can help you get back to health and be compensated fairly.
Call us today at (504) 533-0006 to schedule a free initial consultation.

CONTACT A RUSTON PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you have suffered from a brain injury, you should have a Ruston lawyer represent you. Brain injuries are some of the most severe type of injuries one can suffer as a result of an auto accident. An experienced lawyer from The Burrell Firm LLC can help you get back to health and be compensated fairly.
Call us today at (504) 533-0006 to schedule a free initial consultation.

CONTACT A MONROE/WEST MONROE PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you have suffered from a brain injury, you should have a Monroe/West Monroe lawyer represent you. Brain injuries are some of the most severe type of injuries one can suffer as a result of an auto accident. An experienced lawyer from The Burrell Firm LLC can help you get back to health and be compensated fairly.
Call us today at (504) 533-0006 to schedule a free initial consultation.

2019-01-29T11:40:13+00:00 January 29th, 2019|