Call 911 and have the police prepare a crash report.
If you put down this article after reading the first sentence (and remember it), I will have accomplished something. After a car accident, you may not be in any condition to call 911. And, even if you are not terribly injured, people sometimes feel squeamish, embarrassed or just plain scared and do not want to call the police. Worse yet, the at-fault driver might practically be on his knees begging you not to call the police. Or, you might have some blustering big-mouth person who tries talking you out of calling the police. Call 911. Get a copy of the police crash report. If you are asked, “Why?,” reply that your lawyer told you to do this. That response will surely get attention.
Next, report the accident to your insurance company.
Report what happened, and do not worry about your coverage being dropped or your premiums being increased. As for getting a rental car and handling the repairs or totaling the vehicle, I recommend that you let your insurance company handle this as much as possible. Your carrier can later make its claim for subrogation (recovering money) against the at-fault driver.
If you are in a situation where you have to speak with the other driver’s insurance company, do not give them a written or recorded statement. The insurance adjuster for the other driver is not your friend (no matter how much is said about efforts to help you)—and you should refer any questions regarding how the accident happened to either your insurance company or your attorney.
Be sure that your medical bills are still being processed and paid through your health insurance.
In a perfect world, the other driver’s insurance company would simply pick up the tab each time you see a doctor after the accident, but that is not how it works. You will need to ensure that your medical bills are being submitted to your health insurance so that your medical providers are being paid. Once you fully recover from your injuries, your attorney will gather your medical bills and records and submit them in a demand package to the other driver’s insurance company.
Finally, hire an attorney who has experience and expertise in handling personal injury claims.
Personal injury cases are much more complicated than people think; there are many different legal issues to be considered. An attorney handling your personal injury claim has to consider all available sources of insurance coverage for your benefit, which may include your insurance coverage and the insurance coverage of other drivers in your home; the extent of your injuries and any permanent conditions that your doctors consider to be caused by the collision; the legal issues of proving negligence on the part of the other driver; any other issues involving contributory negligence and other legal doctrines; and any potential liens that may be asserted from your health insurance carrier against your settlement or verdict.
All of these considerations make personal injury work a specialized area of law. Issues involving not only tort law, but also insurance and healthcare law are woven into any personal injury case. You will want an attorney who has a track record of successfully handling personal injury claims. Before you hire a lawyer to handle your case, ask the following questions: How many personal injury cases have you tried to verdict? Tell me about some of your settlements? Find out about the attorney’s credentials and background. Who you choose as your lawyer will ultimately make all the difference.
Call Our Newport New Personal Injury Lawyers
Joe Verser is a partner in the law firm of Heath, Overbey, Verser, & Old, P.L.C. He has recovered substantial verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured persons from automobile collisions. Verser can be reached at 757-599-0734.
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