Cars are ubiquitous in America. We’re truly a nation on the move. There are more than two million injuries from car accidents in America each year; and 37,000 deaths. Last year there were more than 60,000 serious injury crashes in Texas alone; and 3,300 of those were fatal.
Auto accidents are almost always traumatic and chaotic experiences, but even before the dust settles there are still some actions an accident victim should take immediately following the mishap. Some accidents are so devastating they require victims be transported to a hospital, but even perceivable minor accidents can cause injuries that are not immediately apparent.
No injury should be minimized after an auto accident, because the potential always exists for the involvement of multiple negligent parties and insurance companies that are legally bound to provide remuneration for personal injuries and lost wages. Here are five things an accident victim should consider doing to assist in the settlement process:
1. Seek Medical Attention Immediately
It is important to seek some type of professional medical treatment at an established facility. Even though an injury is not apparent, x-rays may show damage that may manifest later. Prime examples are back injuries and whiplash, which occurs when the head is snapped sharply in one direction.
Obvious broken bones and lacerations are routinely treated at a facility after the victim is transported by ambulance, but that does not mean that all others involved should not also seek medical attention.
Make sure to get some documentation of your diagnosis and prognosis immediately following the accident. Even waiting 24 hours can be medically and legally problematic.
2. Retain An Attorney
Finding an attorney should be done sooner rather than later. Speaking with several is okay, and it is always a good sign if any of them are willing to take the case. Attorneys rarely take cases that will not result in a minimal compensatory award, at least.
If you live in Texas, for example, you might log onto houston-accidentattorney.com and explore your legal options. Once the attorney is officially on the case they can access any documentation necessary to build a court presentation.
The initial medical treatment records and property damage reports, along with the official accident report, will give the attorney some documentation to provide a quick assessment before an in-depth accident investigation.
3. Secure An Official Accident Report
Having a personal copy of the official accident report can help identify what actually happened and who may be liable for a negligence claim. It will be on file at the investigating police department. This can help when choosing an attorney because the attorney can use the accident report to investigate the case.
This can also help in determination of insurance protection, including under-insured and uninsured coverage, along with any personal injury protection in no-fault states. Always know if your state of evidence is a no-fault state and check your policy if your vehicle was involved.
4. Have Vehicle Damage Assessed
Even in a situation where the victim does not have full coverage insurance, it is always a good idea to have the vehicle damage evaluated by a professional car repair specialist.
Professional repairmen tend to provide a higher amount in assessment of damages from the accident, so this can be a crucial component of a maximized final settlement.
5. Follow All Medical Instructions
The victim can focus on healing after a legal representative is hired. There may very well be multiple respondents who have multiple insurance companies and each one will have their own legal teams and medical evaluators.
Be prepared for appointments with the physicians with whom they network and do not miss those appointments, as your compliance will be crucial to your defense claim against severity of injuries. See the injury recovery process completely through.
It is important to be patient when dealing with an auto accident compensation claim because, as standard policy, insurance companies usually wait as long as possible before settling a case. It is wise to let your attorney handle the insurance company adjuster and focus on recovering from the accident.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell hopes this article will provide readers with basic information about how to proceed after a car crash. For the denizens of the Lone Star State, she encourages you to check out houston-accidentattorney.com for legal counsel to protect your rights and settle your accident claim successfully.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sylvar/361090503/