After A Car Accident, When Should I Contact My Insurance Company?
You should inform your insurance company about any accident you are involved in immediately. However, depending on the type of policy and coverage you may have, the statements you provide to your own insurance company may affect your ability to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. Therefore, if possible, you should consult with an attorney after an accident, then have your attorney contact your insurance company on your behalf.
Further, you have a legal right to not speak with the other driver’s insurance company if you have not yet obtained a legal counsel. It is best to avoid contact with the other driver’s insurance company until you have spoken with an attorney regarding your rights and responsibilities as an auto accident victim. At first contact with the other driver’s insurance company, they will begin evaluating your claim with all information available to them, including your statements.
If you have any doubts as to liability and feel that you may be at fault, or if you feel that revealing certain information is detrimental to your case (i.e., medical history, vision problems, etc.), consult with an attorney before you speak to any insurance company representative. What you tell an attorney in the course and scope of representation is protected by the attorney-client privilege. This means that the attorney cannot share that information with any person or entity, and cannot be compelled to share that information by any party.
However, Venerable warns you that what you tell an insurance claim adjuster is documented and can be used to destroy your personal injury case.
Should I Call The Police At The Scene Of A Car Accident? Is It Necessary?
We suggest that you do. Depending on the information that you provide to 911/emergency dispatch, law enforcement may or may not appear at the scene of the accident. If you indicate that all parties to the accident are present at the scene and that there are no injuries, then officers will not be likely to show up (or if they do, it will be a long time later). However, if there are injuries requiring emergency medical treatment/transport and you inform emergency dispatch of the situation, then uniformed officers and EMT will arrive quickly on the scene. Also, if the other driver is not cooperating with you regarding the proper exchange of information at the scene, law enforcement will be necessary. By informing emergency dispatch that the other driver is not cooperating, dispatch will send an officer out to the scene quickly because they understand the situation may escalate between the drivers.
Having law enforcement at the scene of the accident is important due to their training and objectivity. Since they are not a party to the accident, they will not be shocked or traumatized by the incident itself. Further, they are trained to investigate traffic accidents, so they will take notes of the scene, conditions of the road, locations of the vehicles after impact, as well as interview witnesses that will provide critical information for determining liability. All of this information will later form the basis of an accident report which will most likely include a summary and conclusion by the reporting officer as to how the accident occurred and who was fault. If a traffic violation occurred, the resulting citation will be noted in the report as well. As such, an accident report may greatly increase the chances of success in your auto accident claim. These reports are especially crucial where liability for the accident itself is in question.
After an incident where uniformed officers arrive on the scene, they should provide you with a card containing the reporting officer’s name and the report number (so that you can retrieve a copy of the report later on). Either you or your legal representative can get a copy of the report later on when it is completed and ready to be distributed. Please also note, while it is important to answer all of the police officer’s questions truthfully, we recommend that you hold off admitting fault at the scene until you have a chance to consult with an attorney.
Should I Seek Medical Attention After A Car Accident? What If I Cannot Handle A Large Medical Bill?
Many people who are injured in a motor vehicle accident are hesitant to seek medical treatment or even a medical evaluation for various reasons. Some of these accident victims do not want to be inconvenienced, others do not believe they are injured enough to warrant seeking medical treatment, some victims just delay because they do not realize it is available to them, and so forth. It is important to understand that when you are in an accident caused by another driver and you are physically harmed, regardless of whether it’s a scrape on the head, a sore back or neck, or a more severe injury, you are still an injured victim.
A large number of people fail to realize that back and neck injuries, like herniated discs, are notoriously difficult to ascertain without proper medical imaging. Many times these common accident injuries are diagnosed as simple soft-tissue injuries before an MRI proves otherwise. Further, the exact type and extent of injury is not usually obvious to injured victims of a car accident, especially right after an accident has occurred, as adrenaline has a tendency to mask pain and deliver mobility to joints that will be sore shortly afterwards.
Additionally, depending on the activity level of the persons involved, some victims do not realize for several days after an accident that their physical ability to engage in certain tasks has been diminished because even soft tissue injuries common to car accidents may affect range of motion for specific body parts, typically shoulders, hips, and wrists. To really determine your need for medical treatment after an accident, whether from a chiropractor, orthopedist, physical therapist, acupuncturist and/or psychologist, you need to at least get an evaluation from one of those specialist providers. They may need to obtain X-rays, MRIs, or other follow on analysis to properly diagnose and develop a treatment plan, as necessary.
Also, if the diagnosis and treatment of an injury is delayed, the failure to have a medical history of such injury linked to the accident may reduce or even prevent you from recovering any compensation for bodily injury. Moreover, many insurance adjusters will simply refuse to pay claims for injury when there has been a significant delay in receiving treatment or when large gaps in treatment have occurred, even if your excuse was that the insurance representative told you to wait while an adjuster reviewed your claim and called you back (typical stalling tactic employed by the insurance companies to trick you into delaying treatment). Bottom line is that you should get a medical evaluation after an accident, especially if the accident was substantial in nature. If you do not, you will be further victimizing yourself, and you will be doing the defendant’s insurance company a favor in the process.
If you retain Venerable Injury Law as your legal counsel, we will assist you in locating experienced and exceptionally qualified medical professionals who will provide services on a lien basis. This means that you will not have to pay for their services up front, rather, they will have a lien on the case so that they collect from the proceeds of your settlement or judgment. As such, there is no need to be concerned about paying for huge medical bills.