Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by John Robinson
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be an overwhelming experience, but it’s essential to protect yourself legally and financially while striving for fair compensation. Let’s explore the practical steps you can take to achieve a just resolution in the aftermath of a car accident.
Step 1: Reach Out to Your Legal Representation or Insurance Provider
Your insurance company has a vested interest in ensuring you receive a fair settlement. It’s crucial to refrain from contacting the at-fault driver’s insurance directly, as they may use your statements against you.
The Sarasota personal injury lawyers at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann note that insurance adjusters conduct their own accident investigations and use available evidence to support a case that benefits the insurance company. They may try to deny a claim or shift blame to the victim, affecting a personal injury claim.
To avoid this, consult with your attorney or contact your insurance provider and allow them to handle the communication.
Step 2: File an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim with your own auto insurance company is a wise move if you’ve been diligently paying your premiums. To strengthen your case against the at-fault driver, obtain a copy of the police report. This report contains vital information about the accident. Additionally, gather details about your injuries, medical bills, missed workdays, repair costs for your vehicle, and other damages incurred. Importantly, filing a claim with your insurer when the accident wasn’t your fault should not result in an increase in your premiums. Your insurer will cover the cost of car repairs and then bill the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Step 3: Await Compensation for Car Repairs
If your vehicle was damaged and required towing to an auto body shop after the accident, you have the option to complete the repairs there or choose another facility. When it comes to covering the repair costs, remember that if the accident was not your fault, the responsible party should contribute to these expenses as part of your overall compensation. In cases where your vehicle is beyond repair, you will receive a payout based on its market value.
Step 4: Construct a Strong Case
It’s essential to maintain a comprehensive record of your injuries, medical expenses, and workdays missed. If you had to use an ambulance, spend time in the hospital, and accumulate significant medical bills, the at-fault driver’s insurance typically should cover these costs. Thorough documentation of your injuries, medical bills, work records, and time off is crucial, as insurance companies rely on this information to evaluate your case and determine the compensation they will provide. If you have health insurance, use it to cover your medical expenses without waiting for a settlement. However, if you require insurance, consider waiting until after you’ve settled to make these payments and arrange a medical lien on your future insurance settlement to cover your treatment costs.
Step 5: Strengthen Your Case’s Worth
Between the accident and the final settlement, there are steps you can take to bolster your case, but it’s crucial to avoid actions that may harm your position. This includes refraining from oversharing about the accident on social media. Additionally, don’t delay or terminate your medical treatment, fail to maintain records of your expenses, or continue working through pain. These actions can undermine your case and reduce your chances of receiving fair compensation after a car accident.
To strengthen your claim, ensure you follow through with all recommended medical treatments, including MRIs, CAT scans, and other tests suggested by your healthcare provider. If surgery is necessary, address it before your case concludes.