When you’ve been injured in a car accident, you are concerned about many things at the same time: healing, getting back to work, paying your bills, and getting your damages as quickly as possible. The process you have to go through is explained below.
Medical Treatments and Healing
The first thing you should do is seek medical treatment. Sometimes people who have been in accidents don’t, and that complicates things later on down the road. First, it will be argued that your injuries resulted from another incident, rather than the one that happened. The logic will be that if you were really hurt, you would have sought medical help right away, whereas the second incident is the one where the truly liable party can be found. So, to prevent there being a question of your integrity, you should go immediately. Usually, people who have to be pushed and prodded are those who don’t think their injuries are serious and might be making a big deal over nothing. It’s worth noting that not all injuries show up right away. You may be in physical therapy several months from now, but feel fine today. So, go seek medical attention.
Obviously, if you’ve been hurt severely enough to be aware of it, then you probably have already been to the hospital, and are now wondering what’s next. You will need to heal completely in order for there to be a value, determined by your medical bill, for how much you will receive. If you need ongoing physical therapy, however, then your doctor will be able to prescribe it for a certain length of time.
Hire An Attorney
You can’t hire an attorney too soon. Even if you’re in the hospital, the clock is ticking on things that have deadlines. If you’re a family member of an injured party who is unable to communicate, then you definitely want to hire a personal injury lawyer right away.
Call Your Insurance Company
You need to notify your insurance company of the accident. Answer any questions they have as clearly as you can, and be sure to have the police report so you can provide them with the report number. The insurance company doesn’t have to honor your claim if you report it too late, usually after seven days. When you get off the phone with your attorney, immediately get on the line with your insurance company.
Your Attorney Files A Claim
After you have healed, your attorney will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The amount you believe you are owed is given with evidence of medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and damage to property, if any of those apply. A claim adjuster will then investigate your claim. This will include interviewing you, the at-fault driver, and any witnesses. and suggest an amount that the company can pay. They will review your medical records and receipts from car repairs, for example, and come up with a settlement. If it’s a fair deal and you are compensated for it, then that’s the end. It can take two weeks to a few months to get to this point.
If your case goes to trial because you cannot settle with the insurance company, then that is the next step, and there is no telling how long a trial will last.