The following is a list of do’s and don’ts that can help you protect your interests if you are ever in a collision.
DO everything in your power to make sure a police report is filed. The police report will be needed for everything from the name of the other driver, the other driver’s insurance company and policy number, the names and contact information for witnesses and others involved in the collision (including passengers), etc. Further, because police reports often mean more physical damage to vehicles, insurance companies tend offer more money for injuries sustained in collisions with a police report.
DON’T tell anyone at the scene that you are not injured. Soft tissue injuries often can take several hours to a few days to make themselves known. Any statement made at the scene that you are not injured will be used by the insurance company to pay less for your injuries.
DO go to the doctor and/or hospital if you have ANY pain. Trying to work through pain only leads a smaller recovery for you. Sometimes minor pain at the accident site can manifest and cause greater pain following the accident. Make sure you are checked out immediately following the accident.
DON’T let there be large gaps in your medical treatment. If you are still in pain and need more treatment, seek it out. Large gaps are used by insurance companies to indicate that all treatment after the gap was “unnecessary” to reduce your recovery.
DO report the collision to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance policies require immediate notice.
DON’T give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You are not required to give this statement to them, and the adjuster asking the question is trained to ask questions that will lead to a smaller recovery for you.
DO let your friends and family know of any pain you are having. If a settlement cannot be reached, your friends and family could act as witnesses to your pain and suffering during a lawsuit.
DON’T stop medical treatment because of the cost. Most medical providers will continue treatment via a lien on your personal injury case. First talk to your doctor about this possibility. If he is not willing to do so, he may know of a provider who is. If your doctor is not helpful, most can refer you to a provider who will do this.
DO use your health insurance to pay your medical bills. The use of health insurance reduces the expenses that have to be paid out of any settlement you receive.
DON’T accept a settlement with the insurance company without talking to a personal injury attorney. Many times insurance companies will attempt to settle a personal injury claim at the time of the property damage claim by adding a nominal figure (such as $500) to the car repairs. Once you accept this offer, you cannot bring another claim for your injuries. Most personal injury attorneys will offer free consultations. Take advantage of such a consultation.
If you have been injured in a collision, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your case. We accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not receive a payment unless you receive a recovery. You may contact us at (623)551-9366 to set up a free consultation.