Auto Accident Do’s and Don’ts

Auto Accident Do’s and Don’ts

Auto Accidents can be frighetning and confusing. Try to follow these recommendations.

Talk To No One Top

Do not talk to anyone about your accident except your physician, your chiropractor, your attorney, or his investigators. You should always require identification before speaking to anyone to be sure you are not speaking with a wrong person. Do not even speak with your own insurance company or any lawyers or investigators hired by time unless you have discussed it with your own attorneys first. Insurance companies do not pay money willingly. Do not allow anyone to tape record anything you say because it may ultimately be used as evidence against you and harm your case.

Take Photographs Top

Save the negatives and prints of any photographs which have been taken pertaining to your case. You should photograph in color any bruises, cuts or other physical evidence as soon as possible so that the full extent of your injuries can be visually preserved. After taking any pictures be sure to have them developed immediately; then, if the results are poor, you can take additional pictures before the damage heals.

Car Repair Top

Do not have your automobile repaired until you have taken pictures. Pictures taken by an insurance company may not be released to you. You must take your own. Pictures are necessary in order to better estimate the impact of the collision. Pictures should be taken of damage to outside of your automobile as well as any inside damage. After pictures have been taken, have your collision insurance carrier repair your car.

Your Physician or Chiropractor Top

Return to your physician or chiropractor as often as necessary and always tell him or her about all your complaints. Disclose all symptoms and problems and do not minimize your ailments, since they will affect your medical or chiropractic evaluation and treatments.

Health Insurance Top

Immediately review both your health insurance and your automobile insurance policies. Submit all medical, chiropractic, or hospital bills to the appropriate insurance carrier for immediate payment. If you do not have adequate insurance coverage, retaining an attorney may allow you to receive the treatment you need without immediate payment. Your physician or chiropractor may accept a lien whereby his or her charges are paid out of any amounts received from your claim.

Save All Physical Evidence Top

If your injuries require a cast, brace, traction or other appliance, save it. It is evidence important to your case. Further, take photographs when you are in the cast or brace for evidence.

Save Your Receipts Top

Keep all documentation, receipts, or other items relating in any way to your case. You can always discard something at a later date, but it may be impossible to get a duplicate copy of something discarded. Keep duplicate copies of all medical, chiropractic, hospital and drug bills. Also, keep records of any other expenses you may have in connection with your accident, such as the hiring of extra help and the cost incurred in going to your doctor. All your bills should be paid by check or you should obtain and keep receipts. Before seeing your attorney, you should make and keep a list of all medical bills so that he can better evaluate your case. These out-of-pocket expenses are known as your “specials”.

Keep a Diary Top

Explain how your life has changed as a result of the accident. Explain in your diary in detail how your injuries have effected your activities. Describe what things you were physically able to do before, that you now have difficulty doing as a result of your injuries. Explain how your injuries have effected your marital relations, including any personality changes. Be specific in describing your limitations, ie., how high you can or cannot raise your arm. Describe your pain, both at the time of the accident and at all times afterward. For example, is it a shooting pain, throbbing pain, etc. A good way to remember all your complaints is to start at your head and work your way down through all parts of your body from your head to your toes.

Lost Wages and Earnings Top

Keep an accurate record of all days lost from work because of your injuries. This is important because you may be entitled to compensation for any days lost from work at your gross earnings, even if you receive sick leave or vacation pay from your employer. However, you will need copies of your W-2′s and income tax returns for the past 5 years. If this injury has prevented you from advancement in your employment or from obtaining employment, know the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of persons who can prove this. Loss of income or potential income is very important in determining the seriousness of your injuries.

Traffic Offenses Top

If you are arrested in connection with an accident, call a lawyer immediately for representation and advice. In the event of a coroner’s inquest or other type of hearing, you should always retain an attorney to represent and protect you.

Witnesses Top

Obtain and save the correct names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any and all witnesses. It is usually wisest not to contact a witness yourself. Instead, contact an attorney who can retain a professional investigator to do this. A professional investigator is trained to get the important facts without alarming the witness. If not handled properly, the witness may refuse to talk to anyone or experience a “lapse of memory”. Either of these could adversely affect a case.

Retaining an Attorney Top

Since many of my patients ask me, “Should I handle my own injury case or should I consult an attorney?” I have prepared the following observations to assist you in determining the best course of action. (Link to Information) I also would be happy to provide the names of attorneys who have worked with other patients in the past with favorable results.

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