Maybe you were on your way to work in rush hour traffic when the unthinkable occurred. While you were paying attention to the road, another driver was not. The next thing you knew, you were in an ambulance heading to the emergency room.
While you might like to focus on your health and well-being, you also can’t help but start to wonder how you will pay for the medical care you are receiving? How much time will you need to take off of work to recover from your injuries? Who is going to pay to repair your car? These and other questions can make the aftermath of an injury-causing accident terrifying.
A car accident naturally results in many concerns and questions from those who endure them. You are not alone, especially if you speak to an attorney who can answer your questions and help you determine the next steps. The sooner you have legal counsel, the sooner you can be assured that you are protecting your legal rights. The actions you take in the week and months following a car accident will make a difference in how much your claim could be worth. Here are some of the most important actions you can take to protect your rights after a car accident.
Keep an Injury Journal
Whether your injuries were substantial or relatively minor, they matter. Any car accident injuries can increase the amount of compensation you deserve from the person who caused your accident or their insurance company. Carefully documenting details about your crash and your injuries are imperative to your claim.
Your journal should include the following details:
- A description of your injuries
- Notes regarding any pain you experience related to your car accident injuries
- Instances of social or professional engagements you had to skip
- Problems you have sleeping
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
Write an entry in your accident journal anytime you can think of something important to your case. Initially, you may write more often than later. Ideally, you should keep your journal going until your claim resolves.
Do Not Talk to the Insurance Company
Once you hire a car accident attorney, the insurance companies must talk to your lawyer instead of you. No matter how nice they seem, how much you want to tell them about your injuries or how your accident happened, refrain from providing the responsible driver’s insurance company with details about your accident and refer them to your lawyer. This helps protect you from saying anything that could damage your case.
At this stage, insurance companies have one goal, and that is to pay you as little as possible for your claim. As such, they will twist and turn what you say and attempt to use it for their benefit. Not speaking to them at all is one of the best steps you can take to protect yourself after an injury accident.
Other than with your attorney or your own insurance carrier, it is generally best to stay tight-lipped about your car accident and your injury claim. You do not want to say anything to anyone, no matter how innocent or straightforward it may seem. You could accidentally decrease the value of your claim. This is true of both your in-persona interactions and online.
Stay Away from All Social Media
After an accident, it’s best to stop using social media platforms as soon as possible. This may feel like a seemingly impossible request in current times, but even seemingly innocent posts could potentially harm your car accident claim. Even if you do not intend to make tweets, updates, or posts about your accident, your injuries, or your recovery, anything you say can be used against you. Let’s say, for example, that you posted a picture of yourself out to dinner with friends. The insurance company’s investigators may find your accounts, even if you think you have them locked down to just your friends, and use the picture against you to say that your injuries cannot be as severe as you are claiming.
There have been cases in which investigators for insurance companies found vacation pictures of the plaintiff that were taken before the accident and attempted to use them against them. The best advice to preserve the integrity of your case is to take a full social media break until your case is settled.
Make Your Medical Care a Priority
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, it only makes sense that your medical care would be a priority in your life. Injured people who do not make their medical care a priority run the risk of getting much less (if anything at all) for their injury claim. For your physical health as well as the health of your claim, you should be attending all of your medical appointments, including doctor’s visits and physical or occupational therapy sessions. If your doctor orders blood tests or X-rays, follow through and get them done as soon as possible.
You should be actively participating in your medical care because this validates your injuries, shows you take them seriously and desire to get better. If you do not do these things, the defense could even say that you brought some of your damages on yourself by not doing what your doctor recommended.
Take the Right Steps After Your Auto Accident Injury
The simple things you do or avoid today can greatly affect your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, most of us are novices when it comes to the aftermath of a car accident, so it’s important to reach out for help. When you hire a car accident attorney to represent you, your lawyer can ensure that you take all the appropriate steps to maximize the value of your claim. If you or someone you love was recently in a car accident that resulted in even minor injury, you will want an experienced car accident attorney to review your claim before you pursue it.
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