Step Zero: At the Scene
Hopefully at the Scene of the Accident you were able to...
Get Pictures of the Vehicles involved in the accident
Take Video of the Accident Scene and possibly the other driver (Sometimes they willingly admit fault on the video).
Get Copies or Photos of the other Driver’s License and Insurance Information.
Get Card, Name & Badge number of the responding Police Officer(s). (If Applicable)
Get Names/Numbers of any Witnesses at the scene willing to speak on your behalf.
Call your Insurance Company to report the accident (Even if you are not at fault)
Make sure you wrote down any Claim Numbers associated with the case
Step 1: Write It All Down
Memory is a funny thing. Just a few days after the accident you will likely start forgetting little details. A few months later, you’ll have forgotten all sorts of details. This can be used against you should your case require legal intervention.
Where were you driving? Direction? Were you turning? Was your neck or torso rotated?
Did you lose consciousness?
Any numbness or tingling?
Dizziness or headaches?
Pain, stiffness, or tightness?
Where was your car struck? Did you spin out or flip over?
Did you car hit other objects?
Did air bags deploy?
Did you hit your head?
Symptoms: Short Term
Did any additional symptoms develop over time?
Did your symptoms worsen?
Activities increase your pain?
What position were cars in? Any overturned vehicles?
Did the police come?
Were there witnesses?
Symptoms: Long Term
Any symptoms develop down the line, 2-4 weeks later?
(This is not uncommon)
Step 2: Don't Sign Anything!!!
The Insurance Company may try to get you to SIGN AWAY YOUR RIGHTS!!!
The Insurance Company may try to offer you a small amount to cover Bodily Injury
Accepting this will Sign Away Your Rights to any further Compensation.
DO NOT SIGN! DO NOT ACCEPT THE MONEY!!!
Step 3: Get Your Own Estimate
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET YOUR ESTIMATE FROM THEIR AUTO SHOP
They'll make it seem like you HAVE to. These shops work with the Insurance to lowball the repair. These low value estimates can cripple any legals claims.
Any Repair Bill under $1500 cripples your case - No lawyer will touch it
Get 3 Estimates. One should be from a dealership of your car make.
You can submit any of these estimates to the insurance company
(though you must get the repairs done at this shop)
Your car may be Salvaged (Totalled) if the repair price exceeds your car value.
If your car gets salvaged, they may attempt to lowball this offer. Make sure you know the value of your car and fight for a fair price.
Step 4: Seek Treatment
Do NOT wait to seek care if injured.
Seek care within the first 1-2 weeks, 4 weeks maximum
Waiting gives Insurance companies the
chance to claim you weren't injured
Emergency & Urgent Care
Typically at Scene of Accident or within 72 hours.
Typically X-rays/Imaging if needed. Told to rest, ice, and stretch and follow-up with your doctor if still in pain.
Usually can see your GP quickly. Specialists often require long waits.
Typically only prescribe NSAIDs & Muscle Relaxants. Recommend physical therapy in 30 days if you don't feel better
Musculoskeletal specialists who can be seen immediately if no emergent care needed.
Uniquely qualified to manage the injuries of car accidents
Self Treatment Measures
Treatments you can start on your own immediately
Stretches, Exercises, applying ice, taking over-the-counter medications.
Step 5: Paying Your Bills
Paying Your Bills
MedPay Vs. Third-Party Lien
Receiving treatment for your injuries costs money. That’s the simple truth. When it comes to Motor Vehicle Accidents, this is an issue that must be resolved.
MEDICAL PAYMENTS (MEDPAY)
MedPay is a rider on your own Auto insurance policy that covers injuries that occur while you are operating or riding in your vehicle. This means that your own insurance policy is billed for the treatment.
MedPay is a No-Fault insurance, meaning your insurance rates cannot be raised from using your own insurance.
MedPay is the fastest, easiest way for you to receive the treatment you need without delay and for medical bills to be paid.
MedPay typically has a maximum amount, such as $5,000-$10,000. So keep an eye on the overall charges your treatment is accruing.
Never let your attorney collect your MedPay. Our office will not work with attorneys who practice this.
Step 6: Legal Representation
Hiring an Attorney to manage your case is often necessary to handle your Motor Vehicle Accident. We understand...nobody wakes up hoping today is the day they have to hire an attorney.
But the truth is, an attorney is YOUR representative. And without an attorney on your side, negotiating with the Insurance Company will not go in your favor.
We have an entire page dedicated to hiring and dealing with attorneys. Click the link below to learn more.
Step 7: Behave Yourself
Your Actions Should Match Your Injuries
Simply put, if you are claiming major injuries, don't partake in activities that might directly contradict this narrative.
If you are Off Work or on Disability, don't be Sky-Diving or practicing Jiu Jitsu, etc.
Insurance companies have been known to hire Private Investigators and have caught people doing things they shouldn't.
Not only does this sink your case, it can result in allegations of freud.
Step 8: Closing Your Case
What to Expect
All Accident Cases Must Come to an End
Your Case closes when you plateau in your improvement, NOT when you are free from all symptoms.
If you have Residual Symptoms, these will be assigned in your Final Report.
Your Attorney will present your Notes and Report along with a Settlement Demand from the Insurance Company.
It is rare to go to trial, typically only occurring with major accidents/injuries.
The overwhelming majority of cases settle during the negotiation stage.
Cases can take up to Two Years before they finally settle.