When someone has been injured in a car accident or wreck, that person might not know how to proceed with his or her personal injury claim. Here are a few “do’s” and “don’ts” that can help someone who has been injured move along with preserving their personal injury claim. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free personal consultation.
DO’S and DON’TS
Things to do:
See your doctor. It is important that you immediately see your regular physician or emergency room doctor so that you can detail all of your physical injuries. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort you should go to an emergency room or urgent care facility in order to get started on the medical treatment that you will need. Make sure you tell your doctor or intake nurse each and every area of physical pain or injury.
Take photographs of the accident scene and those which will show your physical injuries. Photographs which show the injuries will help an insurance adjuster or jury understand the severity of your injuries. Photographing the accident scene helps preserve the evidence so that an insurance company or a dishonest defendant can’t manipulate their stories in an effort to defeat or deny your claim.
Call an experienced personal injury lawyer. Getting experienced trial counsel on your side early will allow the preservation of evidence and the collection of information to begin immediately. Please be extremely careful when hiring a personal injury lawyer and make sure you know the right questions to ask.
Notify your own insurance carrier about the accident. Your own insurance carrier may have coverage such as underinsured, uninsured, or medical payment benefits that can help cover your injuries. You will want to make sure they know immediately that you have been involved in an accident or wreck.
Keep notes or a journal which documents everything involving your claim including the extent of the pain you are experience and the nature of your recovery from the injuries you sustained. Having a journal or a series of notes provides an insurance adjuster or jury to know about the pain and suffering that you experienced, the doctors’ visits you have been to and any time from your job you have missed. These notes will allow the insurance company to fully understand the severity of your injuries. It will also help you keep track of any activities you have missed or particular pain you have experienced.
Things to avoid:
Don’t give a statement to anyone. Insurance companies, while acting like they are on your side, take statements to be used to destroy your case. The insurance adjustors who take these recorded statements are well-trained and skilled at putting words in your mouth and getting you to misstate or mischaracterize what actually happened in order to defeat or reduce the value of your claim. These statements can also be used against you in the event your case goes to trial. Giving a recorded statement to an insurance company can never help your claim.
Don’t sign an authorization. Signing an authorization gives the insurance company the authority to collect medical and employment records to which they are not entitled. If you are not represented by an attorney, you will have no idea about which of your records can be obtained and which cannot. Signing an authorization without first having legal counsel is never going to be in your best interest.
Don’t sign a release. Signing a release can permanently waive any claims that you may have. Even if they tell you the release is only for property damage, have an experienced trial lawyer review your release so that you are not signing away your rights to recover for your personal injuries.
Don’t take a chance, CALL (314) 401-3261 or contact us via email at [email protected], NOW, For a Free Personal Consultation. It’s the only way to be sure that your best interests are being considered.
Bob Healey is a licensed attorney and principle with Healey Law, LLC, a full-service St. Louis law firm, specializing in handling cases for accident and injury victims, injured workers, and consumers who have been abused or mistreated by debt collectors, banks, mortgage companies and credit reporting agencies. With 4 convenient locations in Chesterfield, Downtown St. Louis, North County (Bridgeton near DePaul Hospital) and South County (on Tesson Ferry across from St. Anthony’s Hospital) the attorneys at Healey Law, LLC have over 25 years of experience representing clients in the State and Federal Courts in both Missouri and Illinois. For more information visit: http://www.healeylawllc.com/