Fortunately, people don't have car accidents frequently enough to be experts in the aftermath of it all. That's one reason car accident lawyers are recommended. Attorneys are experienced in the process of filing an accident claim and seeking a settlement. In this article, we've compiled a complete guide to navigating the aftermath of a car accident. From medical attention to filing insurance claims and other related decisions, here's what to do after a car accident in Arizona.
If you have been in a car accident and need an attorney on your side, give us a call or text today at 602-345-1818. Our initial consultations are always free for our clients.
Handling the Direct Aftermath
Directly following a car accident, there are some important things to know. In this recent blog, we've outlined 9 key steps to follow. Here's a quick overview of what to do after you've been in a car wreck:
- Stay on the scene. Leaving the scene can cause you severe legal troubles.
- Assess the safety and health of yourself and others involved; call for medical assistance, if needed
- Ensure you call the authorities to draft an official report; this may be a crucial piece of evidence going forward
- Get information from the other driver(s), including their name, address, telephone number, driver's license number, and insurance information.
- Obtain information from potential witnesses of the accident
- Take pictures of the accident; remember to do so safely
- Do not post pictures of the accident on social media
- Never take blame or admit fault of any kind; this can be used against you later
- See a doctor; even if you “feel fine” following the accident, remember that potential injuries may not be evident until days after the accident has happened
Following this process as closely as possible will give you a better chance at a successful car accident case.
Now What? Handling the Insurance Company
Concerning the insurance companies, you'll want to be aware of any potential pitfalls and important information before speaking with them. You have an obligation to inform your own insurance company about your accident, and it's important to do so in a reasonable amount of time. However, you don't have to inform them while you're at the accident scene, and it's absolutely fine to defer all communications to your lawyer. We recommend that you talk to your lawyer before you talk to an insurance adjuster. Remember that the other party's provider has a goal to settle your claim for as little as possible, so having a lawyer is a good idea. This is especially true if the fault in an accident is contested.
If you do speak to an insurance adjuster, be aware of the dos and don'ts:
- Give only the facts; they don't need to know your opinions or any additional details
- Be polite and courteous, but stay away from pleasantries that could be used against you (simply talking about your “great weekend” could be used against you)
- Don't go into specific detail. Avoid speaking about your level of pain, etc.
Consulting a lawyer before you speak to any insurance companies will keep you from unintentionally hurting your case. Set up a free consultation with our car accident lawyers by filling out our online form. Even if you've already filed a claim, it's not too late to bring in an attorney, and there are a few good reasons to do so. For example, if you have a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by the accident, if fault is being contested, or if your insurance claim has been denied, it's a good idea to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Go Back to the Doctor
Even if you feel perfectly fine after the accident you should seek medical attention. Adrenaline can mask the symptoms of a car accident injury, so it's best to be on the safe side and see a doctor. Most people know this, but often they neglect continuing to see a medical professional for their injuries. In some cases, injuries need additional treatment, and setting recurring doctor appointments is advisable. It's essential to seek continued treatment to, of course, better heal your injuries. It's also extremely important to the success of your case, as the medical documentation will play a large role in getting you the settlement you deserve and need to properly recover.
To understand the vital role that getting medical attention (both immediate and continued) plays in your case, read this article on the topic.
Decisions: To Settle or Not to Settle
At some point in your case, you and your lawyer will need to make the decision to accept the settlement offer or not. Avoid the temptation to get money now at the expense of a better settlement down the road. While most cases do settle out of court, sometimes it's necessary to take it to trial. You can rely on your car accident lawyer's expertise and experience when making these important case decisions. Check out this blog post about the typical personal injury case timeline and the decision to accept settlement offers or go to trial.
Get an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer on Your Side ASAP
Having a car accident on your side throughout the claims process will better prepare you for success. From communications and negotiations with the insurance company, calculating the settlement that's right for you, and making vital decisions, your lawyer's experience is a good thing to have. If you need an experienced and trustworthy car accident lawyer, call or text Impact Legal today at 602-345-1818. We're waiting to help you get the settlement you need to get your life back on track.