If you are injured in an automobile accident, there are certain steps you should take to protect your health and maximize your opportunity for compensation
- You should call local law enforcement and file an accident report. The police will interview the parties in the accident, interview witnesses and inspect the vehicles for damage. They will determine who is at fault. It is especially important to have a formal accident report so that you avoid a he said/she said situation where one of the parties can downplay their fault in the accident, overstate the damage to their vehicle or their injuries, or simply change their story at a later time.
- It is also important to get any witness’s contact information. Witnesses often don’t wait for the police to arrive at the accident scene. You may need them to corroborate what occurred for the insurance companies or at trial. Do your best to get their telephone numbers and addresses if possible.
- You should seek immediate medical treatment. Don’t wait. It is important that you begin documentation and recovery from your injuries as soon as possible. Also, the longer you wait (hours or even days after the accident), the more likely it is that the insurance company will claim that you were not injured or that your injuries were not a result of the accident or were even caused by something after the accident.
- Give your medical providers a thorough description of all your injuries. Something that seems minor at the time can worsen and become a more serious problem. Err on the side of caution, you may find that yo have a full recovery but should that not be the case it is critical that your injuries be documented and addressed. You should also get all necessary diagnostic tests. X Rays, MRIs and scans all help to diagnose your injuries and prove that they were caused by the accident. Your medical providers will document everything in your medical record. Your medical record is relied upon by insurance companies when calculating compensation for your injuries. It is important to preserve your right to receive the maximum compensation. Keep track of all your medical providers, appointments, treatments provided, time missed from work and expenses incurred. Time missed from work and expenses are recoverable items.
- Make sure to follow through with all therapy and medical appointments. This can be time consuming but it is important to show that your injuries are real and a direct result of the accident. You don’t want to give the insurance companies cause to say that your injuries are less severe than they are or, even, to say you were not injured at all.
- Don’t give statements about the accident or your injuries to any insurance company, including your own. If the other person in the accident is uninsured or under insured, you will be seeking compensation from your own insurance company. Insurance companies typically try to give the lowest payout amount possible. As such, they could use your statements to claim you were at fault or not severely injured. You should notify your insurance company of the accident but not give any statement until you have consulted an attorney.
- Obtain legal advice from an experienced attorney. John Tramontozzi at Tramontozzi Law Office in Melrose, Massachusetts is an experienced personal injury attorney. He will provide a free consultation on your case. He will provide guidance through the entire process. He will work to maximize your compensation by negotiating with the insurance companies or, if necessary, by filing a lawsuit. Studies have shown that being represented by an attorney can bring 2-3 times the amount of compensation received compared with someone who is not represented. Hire an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.