After a car crash, you’re probably going to be shaken up for a while. It’s a scary experience, especially when you’ve been injured.
While you might feel like curling up and sleeping your way through recovery, there are several pressing matters that require your action.
1. Contact a personal injury attorney
Avoid trying to file a lawsuit or work out a deal with an insurance company on your own. You’ll need to connect with an attorney to receive adequate compensation for your injuries.
Flying solo in the court system usually backfires. You might win your case and receive some compensation, but it will be less than what a lawyer could get.
2. Seek medical help quickly
If you haven’t already gone to the ER or made an appointment with your doctor, make that a priority. The longer you wait to seek medical care, the more it looks like you may not be injured.
Insurance companies will scrutinize your actions in terms of how you sought medical care following your accident. In their eyes, if you don’t get treatment right away, you’re probably not injured. If that’s what an insurance company concludes, they’ll use your lack of medical care to lower your compensation.
If you were quickly treated by a family member or friend outside of a medical establishment, make sure you document those details and then get checked out inside a medical facility. Even if your family member is a licensed physician, getting treated at home can look suspicious in court.
3. Document your experience and all the evidence
You’ll need solid evidence to prove your case and win compensation. That doesn’t seem like a hard task when you’ve been legitimately injured, but insurance companies will do anything to avoid paying on a claim. Sometimes insurance companies deny valid claims because of a lack of evidence.
Before the details fade from your memory, write down everything you remember about the accident, including what you were wearing, where you were coming from, and where you were going when the accident occurred.
Don’t wait until the last minute to gather photos and document your experience. Take all the photos you have from the accident and put them on a USB drive for safekeeping. Consider printing them out as well so you can submit them to the court. You can submit digital evidence, but sometimes courts lose thumb drives. Printed photos make a great backup.
4. Avoid posting to social media
Posting on social media has the potential to destroy your case. Most attorneys know this and advise avoiding social media throughout their case. However, that’s not realistic for most people.
If you can’t avoid social media completely, make sure you don’t post anything you wouldn’t want the other attorney, insurance company, judge, or jury to see.
The biggest reason to avoid social media altogether is the fact that insurance company attorneys are masters at presenting social media posts out of context to downplay injuries and other claims.
For example, say you’re claiming loss of enjoyment of life and you post photos that show you smiling and having fun with your friends. Those photos can be used against you to demonstrate that you haven’t lost any enjoyment of life.
5. Be honest with your attorney
Maintaining honesty and transparency with your attorney is critical. Your attorney needs to know everything about your case, even if you contributed to the accident in some way.
If you did contribute to your accident, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically lose your case. Some states have comparative negligence laws, which assign fault according to a percentage. So, if you’re found to be 10% responsible for the accident, what usually happens is the judge will award you 10% less compensation.
6. Stay calm and focus on healing
Once you’ve contacted a lawyer and have sought medical help, the most important thing is to stay calm and focus on healing. You can’t change your circumstances, but you can control how you respond. Take time for self-care and give yourself ample time to recover before diving back into activities.
Medical bills pile up fast – connect with an attorney
Car accident injuries produce extensive medical bills that can sometimes last for months or years. Don’t wait to contact an attorney until you realize you need long-term physical therapy.
Connect with a lawyer right away to have your case heard as soon as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get compensated.