Protect Your Personal Injury Claim – Three Things you MUST Do!
May 11, 2014
If you have suffered a personal injury as a result of an auto accident, there are three simple things that you MUST do in order to ensure that you give your personal injury claim the best chance of success. While each personal injury claim is unique, the following three items must be done as a threshold matter to simply have a claim and preserve your best opportunity to maximize its value.
1) Document the scene – take photographs & call the police.
First and foremost, if you are able, you MUST document the scene. Take photographs of the vehicles, the roadway, your injuries, call the police to create a police report, get witness information for any witnesses who may have been at the scene and report to the police officer and any first responders that you are injured. If you feel that you are hurt, take an ambulance from the scene and seek medical treatment immediately. Remember that we have to prove that the other party is responsible for causing the wreck and that your injuries came from the wreck. The insurance company will not simply take your word for it about what happened in the wreck or your injuries we have to document it to back up your claim.
2) Document your injuries – seek medical treatment immediately.
As already discussed above, if you are injured you need to report your injuries to everyone at the scene and seek medical treatment immediately. Many times we have seen where people initially believe that they are not injured due to shock from the wreck or adrenaline or both. However, after they have had a chance to calm down, the pain sets in. It is at this time where it is critical not to delay in seeking medical treatment. You MUST follow up with a medical care professional as soon as possible. Make sure that you inform your doctor of all of the injuries that you are experiencing, no matter how slight. There is a tendency to only report the major injuries and not focus on the smaller ones. But those smaller injuries can sometimes develop into larger injuries, and if it is not reported, can be difficult to prove.
It is also important to remember that the “script” for your case is your medical records. Everything that you say to a medical provider will be put into your records. Therefore you want to be consistent in what happened in the accident and in the reporting of your injuries. The insurance company is going to look at your edical records and we want to make sure that we present a comprehensive and consistent narrative of your injuries. Last but not least, it bears repeating that you must seek treatment as soon as you feel that you are injured. Unfortunately, if you wait too long to seek medical treatment, the insurance company will not believe that your injuries are related to the wreck. It is certainly understandable that you may wait a day or two before seeking medical treatment, but gaps of weeks or even months can be hard to overcome.
3) Report the claim to your auto insurance company immediately.
You MUST report your claim of personal injury to your own auto insurer immediately. Most people are surprised when we give them this advice, but it is one of the most critical things that you can do in your case. Your contract with your auto insurer requires that you report any incidents (regardless of who is at fault) immediately to them. If you fail to timely report the claim, they can deny coverage that you may need in the future. For example, if you find out that the other driver was not insured at the time of the accident, you can utilize your uninsured motorist coverage to pay for the claim (assuming you purchased this coverage). Put another way, let’s assume that the other driver does not have insurance and you did not timely report your claim to your insurer. If this happens you could be in a situation in which there is no insurance to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and all that you have suffered through no fault of your own. This is an extremely unfortunate situation, and can simply be avoided by reporting the claim to your own auto insurer. Lastly, many people believe that if they report the claim to their own insurer that it will increase their insurance rates. This is not the case if you were not at fault. Your insurance contract requires that you timely
report the claim and you must take this step to make sure that you protect your rights.
If you are experiencing injuries after your accident, call Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C. for compassionate and effective representation from our Atlanta car accident attorneys. We offer a free consultation!