7 Things To do Following a Motor Vehicle Collision
1. Document the collision at the scene.
a. Write down all information you can recall possible. Especially if someone has admitted fault.
b. Take pictures. Of everything: people, cars, points of impact, area surrounding. More than you think is necessary.
c. Get names, addresses, phone numbers of ALL witnesses. Don’t rely on the police for this.
2. Call police to scene.
a. Officer at scene will help with exchange of information.
b. Officer can be a credible witness at later date if needed.
c. Officer can also potentially offer opinion of who was at fault, if this is not already clear.
3. Get in to see a health care provider, if injuries have occurred. Even minor ones.
a. Injuries must be documented; insurance providers will not take your word for it if there is not objective documentation.
b. If you receive health care, legal standard/requirements include:
i. Reasonable cost.
ii. Necessary with helping with recovery and/or doctor determining proper diagnosis
iii. Related to the collision.
4. Contact an insurance company AFTER seeking legal counsel; you may not (and most likely will not) be treated fairly.
a. When you have been injured due to fault of an uninsured motorist (UIM), your insurance company has to take full responsibility. Therefore, they may try to minimize your injury/claims as a result.
b. DO NOT give recorded statements to EITHER insurance company, even if you are told to. It is not a requirement. Ask for a specific list of questions instead that can be sent through e-mail and mail so you can answer on your own time and with the help of a professional attorney. Everything you say can and will be used against you by an insurance company.
5. Obtaining insurance benefits should not require additional work on your part.
a. Check your Declaration page to see if your automobile policies has medical coverage not based on you being fault-free. This is often called personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (med-pay)
b. If you do not have PIP, med-pay, or have exhausted your health benefits, your health insurance company should pay the bills instead.
6. Settle your claim only AFTER getting legal counsel. There are a variety of scenarios with traps for those who are unaware when you are finishing your case.
a. You may be responsible to pay back your own insurance company for money they paid on your behalf at the time of settlement, if you do not deal with them at the time of settlement.
b. If a governmental entity, such as Labor and Industries, has paid for any of your medical bills or lost wages, you must reimburse them according to state law.
c. If you owe back child support, you have to ensure these debts are paid from any settlement on your behalf.
d. If you settle for policy limits with the at-fault company, there are certain steps required to be taken to maintain a UIM claim with your own company. If these steps are not taken, you may lose the ability to pursue a UIM claim, which would forfeit you thousands of dollars.
7. Attorney fees are a small price to pay for peace of mind.
If you hire the right attorney, you will be able to trust their judgment and focus on recovering from your injuries without having to worry about your rights and the legalities of being involved in a collision. Harper Law can be this for you.
You will also not have to concern yourself with the traps set by insurance companies, such as trying to encourage you to settle without an attorney as the settlement numbers go up dramatically once you have an attorney. Your own insurance company may try to give you legal advice, especially to settle your own claim. However, be aware that only a licensed attorney can give you legal advice.
Therefore, contact Harper Law in order to receive qualified and compassionate legal counsel.
We Are Here to Help
Although our office does not handle all types of cases, we hope you will contact us regarding any legal issues you may encounter. We will answer your questions, or refer you to another quality and trustworthy attorney if we are unable to assist you. Contact us today!