In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s natural to focus on the recovery and health of the victim. But it’s important to understand that in personal injury claims, proper and timely documentation is of utmost importance. Representation by an experienced attorney is vital from the start.
Even though an insurance company may make a quick settlement offer, you should not discuss your case with an insurance investigator or take any settlement offers prior to seeking counsel from the law office of Stanley C. Franklin. Their experience and qualified assistance will ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for the injuries and damages you have suffered.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, we suggest the following:
1. At the scene of the collision: Make observations, identify all parties and witnesses and do not admit fault. If the police arrive, be careful as to what statements you make. You do not want to say anything that will adversely effect you. Be sure to get the contact and insurance information from all the involved parties. Get drivers license information and vehicle plate numbers. Get names, addresses and phone numbers of all parties and witnesses.
2. Be careful who you talk to: Be prepared for communications with the insurance companies. it is best not to talk to with the insurance companies. LEAVE THIS TASK TO YOUR ATTORNEY. Many insurance companies request drivers give recorded statements about the accident and your injuries as close to the time of the accident as possible. In most instances, it is not advisable to give a recorded statement because anything said could potentially be used against you, especially if you happen to say something adverse to your interests. We advise you to talk with an attorney before talking to an insurance company because insurance companies often try to get you to settle your case as early as possible. You do not want to settle your case until you have fully healed or have reached optimal medical improvement, which is recovering to the fullest extent possible. Furthermore, the insurance companies will request that you sign medical authorizations so that they can obtain your medical information. We again recommend that you do not sign the authorization as the insurance company may request records 10 or 15 years prior to the accident to try and find any evidence they can use to allege that you have a pre-existing condition and thus deny that your injuries were caused by the accident.
3. Get medical attention: If you are injured, either go to the emergency room or make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. Do not wait to see a doctor, otherwise you run the risk that the insurance company will devalue your case by claiming your injuries were not serious. Nobody likes going to the doctor even when your injury is serious because you hope the pain will go away or the damage to your body will heal itself, but it is critical that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not let the insurance company choose a doctor for you. See your own doctor or one recommended to you by someone you trust.
4. Photograph your car: Take pictures of your car as soon as possible after the accident. This can help show the seriousness of the accident. Also, if possible, get pictures of the damage to the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident.
5. Photograph your injuries: Take pictures of any visible injuries before they heal. Bruises, cuts, scrapes, swelling. Anything to show that you really have been injured will help prove the severity of the accident. In some cases, the seat belt strap will bruise you across the shoulder and chest and the bruises may take several weeks to heal.
6. Keep records of expenses: Insurance companies need written or other documentary proof of anything you claim as an expense. Be sure to keep receipts for prescriptions, household services like lawn mowing or getting someone to cook or clean for you and other related items. if you miss any work, let your employer know that you are missing work because of injuries sustained in a car accident so your loss of wages can be established.
7. Most importantly, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer: Without legal help from a California automobile accident law firm such as The Law Offices of Stanley C. Franklin, you may have no idea of the real value of your claim or what you should do in dealing with the insurance company. You can contact The Law Offices of Stanley C. Franklin either via email at email@example.com, or call us at 800-901-0344.