Personal Injury Accident FAQ
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- Check yourself and your passengers for injury, and call 911 if you are injured.
- Get out of the road.
- Get out of your vehicle. Use the sidewalk, or stand far away from the edge of the road.
- Secure a copy of the police accident report.
- Collect as much evidence as you can yourself.
- Seek medical attention. Make sure the medical professionals who treat you make note of:
- The date of your injury
- How the injury occurred
- Diagnosis of your injuries
- Short-term and long-term prognosis
- Any medications you've been prescribed
If additional medical visits are required, make sure that your medical professionals document:
- Any scarring
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Ongoing pain management plans
- The risk of potential future injury or complications
- How to Pay for Medical Expenses:
- Your health insurance will cover your medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault.
- Your auto insurance policy will cover your medical expenses if you have "Med-Pay" or "PIP" coverage.
- Even if the other driver is at fault, you or your insurance will initially have to cover the cost of your medical treatment.
- If you and your attorney settle with their insurance company out of court, or if you win a court judgement at trial, the other driver's insurance will reimburse you for your medical costs (up to their policy coverage limits.)
- A settlement is typically only completed once your medical treatment is completed, which can be months or sometimes years after the accident, but you need to seek reasonable and necessary medical treatment right away. If you are underinsured or uninsured at the time of an accident that was caused by another party, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate small monthly payments to medical providers until a settlement is completed.
- Gather Evidence:
- Time of day.
- Weather conditions.
- List of people involved.
- Exactly what was said by whom.
- Exactly how the incident occurred.
- License plate numbers of automobiles involved in the accident.
- Photograph or otherwise record the other driver's license and insurance documentation and the property damage to all vehicles and stationary objects.
- Record the names, phone numbers and email addresses of eyewitnesses to the crash.
- Collect copies of medical records. Begin documenting your injuries, including:
- Physical injuries you suffered
- The mental impact of those injuries
- Medical treatments you received
- Treatments or accommodations you are likely to require in the future
- Time missed from work
- Missed vacations and recreational time
- Any effects your injuries have had on interpersonal relationships (including physical intimacy)
- Take photos and/or video your injuries immediately after the accident, and then do it again every day throughout your recovery.
- Do Not Admit Fault: Do not sign anything without consulting an attorney.
- Notify Your Insurance Company.
- Find an experienced attorney. Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, and charge no fee unless they accept your case and negotiate a settlement or win a lawsuit on your behalf.
You should see a doctor within three days, but ideally immediately.
Aside from the fact that serious injuries may be hard to detect after an accident, delaying medical treatment could hurt your case.
If you were injured by a negligent driver, your can strengthen your claim by having a medical exam immediately after the accident.
If you don't, the insurance company will use this delay in treatment as evidence that you were not severely injured.
No. Insurance companies often ask personal injury victims for their social security number as if it were required, but you do not have to give it to them, and you should not do so.
An insurance adjuster will typically continue to insist that this is mandatory in order to resolve your case, but once advised of applicable law by an attorney, they will eventually stop asking.
They want to have this data on file so that the entire insurance industry has access to the details of your injuries, medical, financial and criminal history for years to come, as they use this information to minimize subsequent claims. Do not give them your social security number!
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