What to do in the days and weeks following an accident
Things to consider following your accident
Hopefully the trauma of the accident is in the rearview mirror. Now, you need to think about the road ahead to resolve your case. While you might feel like the worst part is behind you, there are some challenges ahead and you need to be alert.
#1 Follow through on your medical care.
Following the accident, you just want life to return to normal. No one wants to work doctor visits into the busy schedule. Unfortunately, this is critical. If you don’t follow your doctor’s orders or you delay in follow up appointments for too long, the insurance company will likely claim that you had a “gap in treatment” and therefore you weren’t really hurt.
#2 Be 100% honest about your injuries.
While you might feel terrible, it is not the time to be dramatic and make claims that are untrue. Any untruths will significantly damage your credibility and jeopardize the entire case. Be very detailed in how you feel, how any injuries are impacting your daily life, and whether you had injuries from the past. Just because you had a previous injury, it does not mean you won’t be entitled to compensation for your current injuries. However, if you fail to disclose past injuries, it can appear as though you are making a false claim.
#3 Don’t sign medical release forms without consulting your attorney.
It is not unusual to receive medical authorization forms from the insurance company following an accident. It is very important you discuss any and all forms that you receive with an experienced personal injury attorney.
#4 Be aware of lien letters.
Lien letters or subrogation agreements (your insurance company wants you to repay them from the settlement for any bills they paid) might seem acceptable. Sometimes these arrangements are requested by an insurance company and sometimes medical service providers, or both. There are several issues that can arise with lien letters. In particular, it takes time and money to remove these liens once they are filed. Additionally, not all bills paid by the insurance company are required to be reimbursed. You need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss these issues. Every case is unique.
#5 Keep paperwork.
Whether it’s a receipt for medical bills or police reports, all paperwork is critical! It is best to get a file to keep all of your receipts and any correspondence from insurance companies. You should also keep a file for correspondence with your attorney. You will likely receive a tremendous amount of paperwork or emails in the months following an accident, so be ready and organized with your information.
#6 ALL “evidence” is important!
You might not consider your totaled car “evidence” (assuming a police report is good enough), but your attorney does not want to see ANY evidence disappear! It is not unusual for one or both insurance companies involved to claim that the facts in the police report are incorrect. They might offer an alternative version with an eye witness. If the car is going to be totaled, get pictures of the car before you lose access to it!
Remember, when in doubt, consult a personal injury attorney!
All car accidents are different. All insurance companies are different. All injuries are different. Any consultation with an attorney at Altman & Witt is FREE! So, don’t make the mistake of trying to navigate your case alone. The attorneys at Altman & Witt have been dealing with motor vehicle accidents in Western Washington for more than 13 years. Get the compensation that you deserve. We always seek to get the maximum recovery for your injury. We handle personal injury cases in Kitsap and Pierce Counties and all the municipalities therein. Call our offices in Tacoma (253) 761-1000 or Bremerton (360) 377-7000, for a free consultation, or click here for our online contact form. We are here to help!
-Ashley R., Tacoma, WA, Personal Injury Client