Being involved in a car accident can leave you injured, unable to work and facing a pile of bills. Finding yourself in this situation can be very scary. Knowing how to protect yourself after a car accident can bring peace of mind, and position you to be able to recover the costs you incurred from the accident to keep you whole.
What should you do after a car accident? Follow these steps to get the best results in your settlement negotiations.
1. Hire an Attorney
Contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible. The sooner you have legal counsel protecting your case, the better chance you have of recouping all costs. Do not face the difficulties ahead without expert help.
2. Get Medical Treatment
Be sure to have a medical professional examine you and document your injuries. This documentation will later prove that the injuries you sustained did, in fact, happen during the incident in question.
3. Contact Your Insurance Agent
California law requires that accidents be reported to insurance agents, even if the accident was not your fault. Do not risk losing your insurance coverage by neglecting this call.
4. Maintain Your Documentation
Keep all bills and other documentation regarding your accident and injuries. This includes emergency care, doctor visits, medications and therapy. This paperwork will be necessary for your attorney to adequately determine the amount of compensation that you are entitled to.
Do not forget to document any work that you miss and all of your payroll information. These lost wages are potentially recoverable in court.
5. Record Any Expenses You Incur
If you are injured you are likely to incur expenses while modifying your lifestyle to accommodate your disabilities. This can include any changes that are necessary to your home or workplace, such as wheelchair ramps or handrails. If you are unable to care for yourself or your home, help that you hire to fill these gaps should also be recorded.
6. Do Not Neglect Your Medical Appointments
So often, the follow-up appointments that injuries require become difficult to accommodate, particularly if your work situation does not support you. However, missing these visits can be used against you in court. The defense will likely cite missed appointments as evidence that your injury was not as debilitating as you claim.
Be careful to attend all scheduled doctor visits and follow-ups during your recovery.
7. Do Not Publicize the Accident
If your case ends up in litigation, defense attorneys will scour your social media accounts and interview your family and friends. Do not put yourself in the position of having the defense use your own words against you.
Play your cards close to the vest, and only discuss your case with your trusted legal counsel.
8. Negotiate All Settlements
Any settlement that you are offered should fully reimburse you for all costs you incurred. Never accept a settlement without discussing it with your attorney, and negotiating as necessary to be sure you are made whole.
As you can see, the days and months after an injurious car accident can be complex and stressful. Having a trusted attorney at your side to protect your interests is critical for a good outcome.