Were you injured in a car accident? The first things you do and the information you collect after a personal injury accident can affect the reimbursement from your insurance claim. Here’s some advice from Greg Veralrud, one of Oregon’s top personal injury lawyers, about what to do if you’ve been injured in a car accident.
In a perfect world, you would get repaid for your injury, damages, and loss of income and quality of life immediately. However, in the real world, insurance might not cooperate to give you the restitution you deserve. Insurance might not cover all your damages. Following these steps will give you the best chance at getting the settlement you deserve and will arm you with as much evidence as possible should you need to hire a personal injury attorney.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
1. Don’t Admit Fault
You might feel like apologizing for the accident at the scene, or telling your car insurance agent you thought it was your fault. Don’t do this; it may seriously jeopardize your claim. Instead, do the following:
- File a police report
- Give a detailed description of the accident (write this down for your own records too)
- Take photos and document the accident as best you can.
2. Don’t Settle Prematurely
- Don’t settle until your injuries are healed and you’ve completed all of your medical treatment. Otherwise, you’re not going to have the total cost of your injuries.
- Don’t sign release forms, even if they’re attached to checks, until you’re ready to settle. Signing release forms may release your insurance company from the responsibility of paying out additional claims.
WHAT TO DO:
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve been injured, go see a doctor immediately. You might feel fine or think you haven’t been severely injured, but symptoms from an automobile accident might appear days after the incident. Going to a doctor won’t just give you peace of mind; it will also help you document your damages and strengthen your personal injury claim in the state of Oregon.
2. Photograph Your Injuries
Ask someone to take photos of your injuries. These pictures will be valuable for your case if the insurance company is giving you a hard time for your settlement. If you hire a personal injury attorney, these photos can also be invaluable in court.
3. Gather Information
You’re going to want to get as much information about the accident and its effects on your life as possible. Here are some good places to get started:
- Accident information:
Get pictures of the accident’s locations. Also make sure to photograph traffic lights, stop signs, and anything else that may have contributed to the accident.
- Witness’ Names and Contact Information
- Damage to Your Vehicle:
Take pictures from every angle, including close-ups and long-distance pictures. Don’t just take one or two, make sure to document the extent of the damages.
4. Document Lost Wages and Opportunities
You may have some coverage under your own automobile insurance policies for loss of income due to automobile injury accidents. We can assist you with this protection. Try to gather income tax records for the last couple of years and keep your most recent paystubs from before the accident (and ongoing paystubs if you’re able to work but have had to move to part time because of the injury). Gather reference letters, commendations or other indications of on-the-job competency.
We can assist you in determining the extent of your damages if the injuries are such that your working career is stopped or dramatically changed, requiring retraining, from accident-related injuries.
5. Document Your Medical Care
To get full reimbursement from the insurance company, take detailed notes and photographs of your injuries and medical care. Make sure you have the names and addresses of any doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals you were referred to by your doctor. Make sure to keep and file any bills, forms, test results, and other paperwork you receive.
It would make sense to start a journal of your auto accident injuries and treatment.
- Make an entry each day describing your injuries, medication, the level of pain, and any inconveniences or decrease in quality of life from your injury.
- Make an entry every time you correspond with a medical professional about your injury. Try to summarize and record personal and phone conversations with doctors and nurses; keep any and all e-mails.
- Track travel expenses to and from your appointments.
- Save all your medical bills and receipts (including prescriptions, special food and nutrition, co-payments, and crutches, walkers, canes, and other equipment).
6. Consider Hiring an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney
No matter what the cause of your crash was, you will be sure to face opposition from insurance companies, at-fault parties, and everyone else who does not want to pay complete and fair restitution for your losses. If you’ve been injured, this opposition is coming at the worst time possible, because all you want is to get better and receive compensation for your losses.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is a smart move because you will have a team of knowledgeable legal professionals in your corner, making sure that you are getting all of the compensation and treatment that you deserve.
Here is a list of some of the types of compensation you might be entitled to if you were in a car accident:
- Lost income
- Medical bills related to physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, hospital costs, testing and other medical services
- Rehabilitation costs
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Alternate transportation (rental car, public transit costs)
- Medical equipment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of society and companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Got questions? We can help! Call Greg Veralrud, one of Oregon’s premier personal injury lawyers for a free consultation today. A car accident lawyer can help listen to your side of things, review your case, and discuss your legal options today, all at no charge.
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