In the U.S alone, 3 million people are injured in car crashes every year, and about 2 million drivers involved in those accidents experience permanent injuries, according to the Driver Knowledge website. Nobody likes the thought of being involved in a road accident. However, for most road users, it’s an inevitable reality.
When involved in a car crash, the first steps are easy. Every skilled driver knows that they should stop, make sure everyone is okay, call the police and insurance company, collect evidence, and exchange details with the other driver. But what steps do you follow to ensure you receive fair compensation if you have been injured in a car accident?
Below are tips to help you strengthen your personal injury claim after a car crash.
Understand Personal Injury Claim Basics
If you have personal injury protection coverage, submitting a claim to your insurance company is advisable. It might be your only option if you are in a no-fault insurance state. Your insurance company will settle your claim regardless of who was at fault at the time of the accident. Nonetheless, you should also file a complaint with the other driver’s insurance provider, but the process is not straightforward.
To get a fair settlement, the other driver’s insurer will ask you to prove that their client was at fault. According to Hasner Law, you will be barred from recovering damages if you are more than 50 percent to blame for an accident. Since auto accident claims are based on the other driver’s fault, they are liable for your injuries and damages if the accident was due to their negligence. If the accident was your fault, you are responsible for your loss.
Know What You’re Entitled to Compensation
In a car accident claim, damages are the expenses linked to personal injuries and property damage. If you are filing an injury claim, some of the bodily damages you may be entitled to collect include medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. To win your claim, the at-fault’s insurance company will require proof that the other driver was negligent, and proof that the accident was the cause of your injuries.
Provide Detailed Information
It is worth noting that insurance companies extend settlement offers based on the information and documentation you provide. If, for instance, you are claiming property damages, you must provide proof of the value of property damages. The insurance company will ask for the cost of personal items like eyeglasses, computer, or bicycle damaged in the car crash.
You will also need to give the value of the vehicle repair or value of your car if the damage is beyond repair. If you are not able to provide proof of property damage, the at-fault insurance company will conclude that you are not entitled to receive compensation for the damages.
Follow the Right Rules After the Accident
Never leave the accident scene without recording a statement with the police even if the damages seem minor. Always contact the police to report the incident. Tell the police your location, report injuries you or others have, and let them know if there are any hazards at the scene. Do not allow the other driver to talk you out of calling the police. Insist on obtaining an official police car accident report, as it will be an essential tool for building your injury claim.
Seek Medical Assistance
No matter how mild your injuries are, accept medical assistance at the crash scene. Refusing or delaying medical treatment will affect your claim in a negative way. The insurance company will deny settlement for personal injuries, arguing that the accident was not the cause. It is, therefore, essential to notify paramedics at the scene about any symptoms you may have. If they ask to transport you to the hospital for screening, go with them.
In the event, the paramedics don’t transport you to the hospital, contact your primary physician. Alternatively, go to the emergency room and tell the treatment provider you experienced injuries in a car accident. Avoid unqualified ‘personal injury’ doctors because they charge high rates for medication and therapy, and that can significantly weaken your injury claim.
Collect Enough Evidence
Although a police report contains detailed information about the accident, make an effort to gather relevant evidence right after the collision. Make sure to write down as much information about the other driver, including name, contact details, driver’s insurance company name, policy number, and contacts. If there are other vehicles involved, write down the license plate number, model, and vehicle identification number. Use your phone or camera to take videos and photos of the vehicles, damages, and injuries. You stand a chance to receive high compensation if you provide enough evidence.
Notify the Insurance Companies
Legally, you are required to notify your insurance provider even if you were not at fault. By reporting to your insurer, your policy allows you to obtain car repair coverage, medical payment, or coverage for a rental car if yours is at the repair shop. Besides legal obligations, this move helps you protect your interests. For instance, if the other driver files a claim, your insurer will be in a tough position to protect you if you haven’t notified them of the collision.
Next, report the accident to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Though every state has a time limit for filing claims, you don’t have to do it while still in the hospital. If you experienced severe injuries during the crash, or you don’t want to deal with the insurance company, consider hiring a personal injury attorney. A car accident lawyer will handle all the communication and injury claims on your behalf.
Be Careful of What You Say
Days after the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance claim adjuster will contact you. The role of an adjuster is to investigate and negotiate accident claims. They will try to convince you to give a recorded statement of the accident. Remember, you are not obligated to do so, and if you are not cautious, you may say things that may be used against you when filing a claim.
Additionally, do not agree to sign a settlement agreement. With this, you will have signed your rights to file for compensation from the at-fault driver and the insurance company if your injuries worsen weeks or months after the accident. Consult a personal injury lawyer to guide you.
Filing personal injury claims is a time-consuming and stressful task. However, you can maximize your compensation by following the right steps. Start by understanding the personal injury claim basics and follow the proper guidelines immediately after a car crash to ensure your receive fair settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider.