There are many tips on what to do when involved in a car accident. Here are a few things, as told by a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, on what you should or should not do immediately after an accident and while you are undergoing treatment for your injuries.
1) Wait for the Police. – If you are not at fault and on a public way, call the police and wait for them, even though it may be a long wait. NEVER LEAVE IF YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT. Keep in mind, the police will not respond to a parking lot accident. Even if you are at fault, do not leave unless the other party agrees to leave. If you are not at fault and you agree to let the other party leave, there will be no citation and no police report generated. This could negatively affect your claim. It underscores the minor nature of the claim in the eyes of the insurance company, and with their insured not getting a citation, it may take a long time (or never) before the insurance company accepts liability for the accident.
2) Consult a Lawyer Immediately. No Recorded Statements to the Insurance Company. – It is perfectly proper to call your insurance company to report the accident; even from the scene of the accident. Your next call should be to your attorney. Do not call the other driver’s insurance company. There are many occasions where the not-at-fault party has already given a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company before retaining counsel. That recorded statement is almost NEVER beneficial to you. The insurance company will use that statement to minimize your injuries; and it can be used in litigation as well. Consult us first before giving any recorded statements, even to your own insurance company.
3) No Gaps in Treatment or Long Trips While you are Treating. – One of the main reasons for consulting us first is so we can refer you to the right doctors for your type of injury. One of the major issues that insurance companies look at in evaluating a claim is if there are gaps in treatment. For soft tissue injuries, if you sit and do nothing for two weeks hoping the pain will go away, and then you seek treatment, you will be fighting an uphill battle to get a settlement. The insurance company has successfully argued before juries that waiting so long means the injury was non-existent or so minor that no treatment was necessary. GET TO THE DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY!
Try to avoid long trips out of state or out of the country while treating. If you go somewhere for a month or longer, you will not be able to resume treatment when you return. Again, the insurance companies will argue that you were well enough to travel long distances, and they will not allow any further treatment or pain and suffering from the time you left for your trip.
4) Don’t Get Hung Up on the Car to the Detriment of Your Personal Injury Claim. – It is only natural to be concerned about getting your car fixed; or if totaled, getting a fair price. We will help you with your property damage claim for no fee, provided you are pursuing your personal injury claim. If you have collision coverage (generally you will have this if you are still making payments on your car); you have the option of going through your own insurance company; or the at fault party’s insurance company. The advantage for going through your company is that it is usually faster, since the at fault party’s company has no duty to you and can drag their feet before they accept liability. The downside is that there is usually a deductible of $250, $500 or even $1000 that you have to pay up front. Your company will usually get that reimbursed for you. The advantage of going through the at fault party’s company is there is no deductible.
Many clients with an older vehicle get hung up on the value of their car. The reality is that the insurance company only owes the reasonable value of the car, which is usually not enough to buy a comparable car. We understand that the car is more valuable to you than the book value. Resign yourself to the fact that you probably will not make money on your old car, especially if it is totaled. Do not cancel any doctor appointments to deal with the car! If you pay attention to your personal injury claim, your compensation for that will more than likely make up for any inconvenience and loss of the car.