Motor Vehicle Accidents

After a motor vehicle accident, it is essential to take the right steps to protect any future claim. Here are some general tips on what to do after a car accident.

Call the police to make a report.

Do not trust the other driver's promises to pay you for your damages. Commonly, the cost of damage to your property or medical treatment is more expensive than what an individual can afford.

Include your version in the report. The police report typically includes statements from the drivers involved in a wreck. Make sure you have an opportunity to include your side of the story adequately. If you cannot communicate directly with the police, ask for help from someone who can interpret for you.

Document the scene and your injuries

If possible, write down the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Witnesses to the accident are the people who saw the crash happen. The testimony of independent witnesses, who have no prior relationship with you, is very valuable. Take a picture, not only of the damage to the cars, but also of the following:

  • Position of the vehicles after impact.
  • Tire marks on the road or pavement.
  • Place of waste of parts of the cars (plastic, glass).
  • Location of cameras that may have recorded the accident.
  • Take pictures of your injuries, i.e., cuts, bruises, etc. Bruises are usually not visible after a few days.

Seek medical assistance immediately after the accident

When people involved in an accident do not go to the doctor shortly after an accident, auto insurance representatives usually argue that injuries later claimed were not caused by the accident. After an accident, the most important thing to worry about is your health. The doctor needs to assess your injuries and recommend appropriate treatment. Make sure you seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Follow the doctor's instructions

It is important to follow the doctor's instructions. For example; buy and take the prescribed medication as indicated by your doctor, attend all medical appointments and comply with physical therapies. By doing so, insurance representatives cannot argue that your failure to follow the doctor’s instructions is the cause of your injuries.

Consult with an experienced accident lawyer

Normally, lawyers work in specific areas. It is important that you consult with a lawyer who is a personal injury attorney. Consider hiring a lawyer:

  • With experience in accident cases;
  • That will personally work on your case; and,
  • Who speaks your language.

A lawyer with these qualities will be able to advise you through the process.

A lawyer can send a letter of preservation or conservation to people or entities that have evidence to help prove your case. For example, your lawyer may ask that an establishment with cameras preserve the recording of the accident. We can also request to preserve the Event Data Recorder (black box), which may help determine what a vehicle was doing before, during and after a crash.

Tell the truth

After an accident, you will need to talk to several people including:

  • Police Officers
  • Medical Assistance Personnel
  • Auto Insurance Representatives
  • Lawyers

Through this process, it is extremely important that you always tell the truth so that your integrity is never questioned.

Do not talk to any insurance representative, without first hiring a lawyer

After an accident, insurance representatives will try to talk to you mainly for three primary purposes:

  1. To establish that you were at fault in causing the accident;
  2. Document that you suffered little damage; and
  3. Convince you not to hire a lawyer

Do not talk to your car insurance. When the driver who caused the accident does not have auto insurance coverage, your insurance (who is going to pay for your damages) becomes adverse to your interests. Your insurance will want to pay the minimum possible amount for your damages. The fact that the police report says that the driver who caused the accident has auto insurance does not mean that it is true. In many cases, the insurance that appears in the report has expired.

Recorded statements. When you talk to any insurance representative, keep in mind that the conversations are being recorded. The representatives try to establish that you contributed to the accident and that you already feel good physically. These recordings can then be used against you.

Do not sign documents

Signing an acquittal, release or general release can eliminate all of your rights to file a claim in the future. It is important that you consider and make sure you have collected all your losses before signing any document.

Do not post photos or comments on social networks

One of the problems with posting pictures of the damage to your car on social networks is that you will often get asked if you are doing okay. If you say that you are feeling better or doing okay, your post may end up contradicting your injury claim.

File a lawsuit

If you have hired a lawyer, who advises you to file a lawsuit, do not be afraid to sue. Entering a demand forces the insurance to reevaluate the value of your claim and as a result offering more money than what they offered before filing a lawsuit. Although the case may have to go to trial, most cases are settled by mutual agreement, even after a lawsuit is filed.

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