Getting involved in a car accident can leave us with physical and emotional scars. It’s not just sad and traumatic, it can also be infuriating if we knew for a fact that these incidents stem from another’s negligence. In cases like this, understanding the dos and don’ts when dealing with a personal injury lawsuit can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim.
Among the most common personal injury cases are car accidents, indiscriminately affecting anyone and anywhere. The recent increase of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft has also expanded the scope of this risk, because now, even rideshare passengers are not exempted from experiencing or being involved in car accidents.
The complexity of personal injury cases can be overwhelming without professional legal guidance. According to a Tulsa Uber Accident Attorney Tye Smith, self-representation can lead to a prolonged and distressing path, possibly jeopardizing your recovery.
Here are the do’s and don’ts when dealing with personal injury claims:
Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
In the event of an accident, seek immediate medical attention first. Why? Because time is of the essence. Swift action solidifies the connection between your injuries and the accident, making your case airtight.
It shields you from insurance companies from arguing that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. It sends a powerful message – that you are committed to your recovery, no matter how minor the injuries may seem initially.
Delaying medical treatment may give the insurance company grounds to deny your claim or lowball your settlement offer. Your health should always come first.
Gathering Evidence and Documentation
After seeking medical attention, you can now begin collecting evidence. The strength of your claim depends on the quality of evidence and documentation you can get. These evidence include:
Photo Evidence: Take photographs of the accident scene if your injuries are not that severe. If you failed to take photos because you were unconscious, find witnesses or photographs taken by the authorities. Take pictures of your injuries, your car, and any property damage.
Detailed Records: Write down what happened, including the date, time, and location of the incident, along with the names of any witnesses.
Document Everything: Keep all medical records, bills, and receipts related to your injuries and treatment. These documents not only demonstrate your medical expenses but also the tangible costs you’ve incurred. Obtain a copy of the police report, if available.
Physical Evidence: Preserve any physical evidence, such as damaged clothing or equipment.
By gathering and documenting all this evidence, you’ll have a stronger case to present to insurance companies or in court.
Consulting with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Consulting with a seasoned personal injury attorney is also a critical move. Do not attempt to represent yourself in a car accident case if you’re not mentally and physically prepared to deal with it. Getting an attorney will always be a logical step. Here’s why:
They have legal expertise: Personal injury law is complex. An attorney specializing in this field possesses the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure you make informed decisions and understand your rights. They’ll demystify the legal process for you.
They can assess your case: Your attorney will evaluate the strength of your case. The potential outcomes, strategies, and legal options available. This insight is invaluable in making informed choices about your case.
They have great negotiation skills: Dealing with insurance companies can be a tough battle. Personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators, adept at countering the tactics insurers often employ.
They can help gathering evidence: Attorneys know precisely what evidence is required to support your claim. They’ll ensure that no crucial details are overlooked in building a compelling case.
They provide you peace of mind: With an attorney by your side, you can focus on your recovery, knowing that the legal complexities of your case are in capable hands.
Communicating and Cooperating with Insurance Companies
Make sure you keep the lines of communication open and work together with insurance companies to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have hired a lawyer, you don’t need to worry about this step, because they will take care of the negotiations for you. If you want to try and navigate this part on your own, be familiar with the steps below:
Step 1: Promptly Inform Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company without delay. Providing timely information is crucial in starting the claims process.
Step 2: Accuracy Matters
When communicating with your insurance company, be precise and truthful about the incident and your injuries. Accuracy in the details is essential for a smooth claims process.
Step 3: Exercise Caution
Remember that insurance companies are focused on minimizing their payouts. While cooperation is necessary, avoid rushing into decisions. Don’t accept settlement offers or sign any documents without understanding the full extent of your injuries and the potential long-term consequences.
Step 4: Consult Your Attorney
Before giving any recorded statements or accepting settlements, it’s vital to review these offers carefully. Consult with your personal injury attorney to ensure the settlement is fair and covers your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and any future costs related to your injuries.
In your interactions with insurance companies especially with the at-fault party’s insurer, maintain a balance between being forthright and cautious. If disputes arise with the insurance company over the settlement or liability, you may need to pursue legal action.
Understanding your rights and seeking professional legal guidance can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Remember that personal injury claims, though they seem tedious, can be easy to navigate if you have a good lawyer by your side.