However, in case of serious personal injuries, it would be perhaps be unwise to proceed without the guidance of an attorney.
The following list is simply a list of items that we see as very important in a car accident claim. Again, there are many other considerations and attorneys are apt to disagree on which are the most important.
Point Number 1: You should obtain a police report. This means insuring that a police report is created at the time of the accident. In other words, call the police to the scene. This is not the occasion to be generous and understanding with the other driver.
Point Number 2: If you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible after discovering that you are injured. Delays in treatment on occasion can be explained by delayed onset, lack of access to medical providers or other legitimate reasons. However, a delay will almost always be brought up by the insurance company as suggestive of a lack of injury.
Point Number 3: You must attend medical appointments and otherwise follow the advice of your medical providers. Failure to do so will most defiantly be used against you by the insurance company. After all, if you are hurt, and medical care is available, failure to seek medical care can arguably suggest that your injuries might be overstated at best. In short, gaps in treatment or repeated failures to comply with medical advice without a very good reason for doing so will seriously damage your claims.
Point Number 4: The other driver‘s insurance company is going to ask you for a recorded statement. You should never provide such a statement without first consulting with an attorney. That statement is recorded meaning that it will absolutely be used against you later if possible. In the best possible light, statements may be honestly misconstrued. However, in dealing with some insurance companies, you are not operating in the best possible light, and the entire purpose of the recorded statement may be to get you to unknowingly make highly damaging statements. In any event, there is no reason to provide such a statement unless at a minimum the other driver will do likewise for your attorney.
Point Number 5: Do not hide prior accidents from your attorney or the insurance company. In the age of the internet, it may best be assumed that your deception will be discovered. Prior accidents and injuries will not prevent you from making a claim. Nor will they typically even harm your claim. Lying and deception will. In fact, such behavior will not only harm your claim but may compel your attorney to withdraw from representation.
Point Number 6: Make sure that you have completed medical treatment, have fully recovered or reached maximum medical improvement prior to discussing settlement of your claims. If you have not fully recovered, then you will need to get permanent impairment ratings which will be used to value your case. In some cases, you may not be fully recovered due to the inability to obtain required treatment such as surgery due to a lack of insurance. In this case, the costs of additional treatment should be factored into the valuation of your case.
Point Number 7: Do not forget to fully document economic damages. There are many elements of economic damages. Often the most important is lost income. Lost income would include all past lost income resulting from the accident as well as future lost income. Future lost income is typically only a consideration in very serious injury cases. However, when it is a consideration, it is often the greatest element of damages. In short, there are some injuries that prevent a person from working in his or her chosen field and other injuries that prevent the person from working at all. In these cases, an expert economist must be enlisted to calculate the loss of earnings or the remainder of the injured person‘s working life.
There are many other aspects to personal injury cases. These are just a few that clearly call for the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
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