Car accidents and slip-and-fall incidents are the two leading causes of personal injuries. Determining accident liability and getting the compensation you’re entitled to can prove to be complicated, though. There are a few clear circumstances, such as 1) any accident where there was a clear violation of a traffic law by the other party means that they are at fault, 2) if you were rear-ended, the other driver is at fault, and 3) accidents caused by substance abuse are the fault of the impaired driver. Outside those situations, though, the intricacies of liability law quickly become overwhelming.
What can you do to make sure you’ll get the care you need? Here’s a basic guide for how to proceed after you’ve been in an accident:
In the moment of trauma or injury, there’s a lot of shock, and it’s hard to maintain awareness of your surroundings. Documentation is absolutely crucial, though. Document everything you can. Take pictures. Talk to others who were on the scene, see if they are willing to give contact information. Calling the police or 911 is a way to document. Note the weather conditions. Obviously, if you’re seriously injured you might not be able to take pictures or talk with people, but if you’re at all able, notice and record the details. Keep a journal of how you feel for the next several days. (If you’re not a writer, you can just record a voice memo on your phone.) The importance of capturing the early details of your experience can’t be overstated.
Get the medical care you need.
Many of us have a tendency to brush off or just cope with a certain level of pain or discomfort following an incident. If there isn’t active bleeding or obvious broken bones, it’s easy to feel like there are other more urgent matters to be taken care of and hope that you’ll feel better in a couple of days. Here’s the way insurance companies see it: if you didn’t go to the doctor, then you weren’t injured. We highly recommend seeing a doctor in the 24 hours following your accident. Make sure you tell them every ache, pain, and sensitivity. Keep track of the paperwork. It could prove invaluable.
Don’t sign any paperwork from any insurance company without legal counsel.
Don’t trust the insurance company. They are not working for you. It’s common for insurance companies to try to get you to sign paperwork early on that covertly signs away your rights to seek legal action later on. When it comes to dealing with the insurance companies, it’s important for you to have a legal advocate on your side.
Don’t wait too long to file a complaint.
Insurance companies drag their feet. Often their representatives buy time by keeping things “in process” and assuring you that they need just a little longer. This kind of stalling tactic can run you out of time under the statute of limitations and make it impossible for you to file a claim once you realize that you need legal advocacy. If you haven’t begun receiving responses and compensation within a few weeks of filing your claim, don’t wait. Talk to an attorney.
Always feel free to reach out to us at 770-800-7000 with your questions! We are here to support and represent you, and we can help you sort through the details of your story to determine the course of action that will be most beneficial to you.