Frequently Asked Questions About Accident Claims
- Is there anything I should avoid doing after an accident?
- What information should I collect after an accident?
- When should I contact an auto accident lawyer?
- If I’m only a little banged up, should I still seek medical treatment?
- What should I tell my insurance company?
- What happens if the other driver is uninsured or has bare minimum coverage?
- I think the other driver was on his phone, but he told the police he was not — is there anything I can do?
- How can a personal injury attorney help with my car accident?
Is there anything I should avoid doing after an auto accident?
A. There are several things you should avoid doing or saying after an auto accident.
- Do not say the accident was all or partially your fault. If you admit fault, this can be used against you later. Even if you believe the accident was your fault, usually accidents happen very quickly and an investigation may show the accident was not your fault.
- Unless you need immediate medical attention, do not leave the scene of an accident until the police have arrived and recorded information about the crash.
- Do not give a recorded statement, or any statement for that matter, to any insurance company until you’ve spoken with an auto accident attorney.
- Do not sign your car over to a salvage yard without consulting an attorney first; it may be valuable evidence.
What information should I collect after an accident?
A. After an accident, your first concern should be your health. If you need immediate medical attention, go to the emergency room. If you do not need immediate medical attention, however, you should collect the following information at the scene of the accident (or as soon as possible):
- Ask the investigating officer for a copy of the police report filled out at the scene. This should contain all of the contact information for the parties and passengers involved, including names, addresses and phone numbers, as well as the drivers’ insurance carriers and policy numbers, license plate numbers, and make/models of the vehicles involved. You will want to have all of this information after the crash.
- Ask any witnesses for their contact information.
- Write down any admissions of guilt or fault by the other driver.
- Take pictures of all involved vehicles and the scene if you can do so safely.
When should I contact a car accident lawyer?
A. The sooner you contact a motor vehicle accident attorney, the better. An experienced personal injury attorney can begin investigating immediately and ensure that all useful evidence is preserved. An experienced personal injury attorney will also deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and help prevent you from making any mistakes.
If I’m only a little banged up, should I still seek medical treatment?
A. Yes. It is common for serious car crash injuries to manifest hours or days after the accident. Visiting a doctor as soon as possible after a crash serves two important functions: It allows for any serious injuries you have suffered to be quickly diagnosed and treated before they get worse, and it helps document the harm you have suffered, which is important evidence.
What should I tell my insurance company?
A. Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. You should tell your insurance company that you were in an accident, the date, time, vehicles involved, the other driver’s contact and insurance information and that you were injured. You should not go into specifics about the circumstances that led to the accident or the extent of the injuries you suffered until after you consult with a car accident attorney.
What happens if the other driver is uninsured or has bare minimum coverage?
A. Most likely, if you have an auto policy, you have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage that can help cover your claim. If you do not, an experienced personal injury attorney will discuss with you other possible sources of money to compensate you for your injuries. For instance, if the other driver was acting within the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident, his or her employer may be liable for your injuries.
I think the other driver was on his phone, but he told the police he wasn’t — is there anything I can do?
A. Notify your personal injury attorney of your distracted driving suspicions. It may be possible to subpoena the distracted driver or his telephone carrier for a phone log of his calls and texts if you believe he was driving distracted.
How can a personal injury attorney help with my car accident?
A. A skilled auto accident attorney can help you recover maximum compensation for the harm caused to you and your family. An experienced lawyer will preserve evidence and conduct an investigation to find all potentially liable parties contributing to the accident, including possible auto defects. An experienced personal injury attorney is a trained advocate who knows how to protect you from being unfairly blamed for an accident and how much money is considered fair compensation for things such as pain and suffering and disabilities.
Most reputable personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, so you can have a cost-free meeting with a lawyer to learn how he or she can help with your specific claim. Additionally, most reputable personal injury attorneys do not charge you anything until they collect money for you.