Car accidents are never expected. When they do occur, those involved are often very upset and loaded with adrenaline. Sometimes you can’t believe it even happened, and sometimes you’re not sure how. If you have not thought about what you should do in the event of an accident before it occurs, your initial reactions may not be what is best for an insurance claim, or far more important, your health.
Health Comes First
First, call 911, even if you do not think you or anyone else is seriously hurt. The adrenaline rush can mask even very serious injuries. In fact, you may not notice symptoms until several days after the accident. This can be true even with unrealized, yet very serious, head and brain injuries. Let the first responders check you for injuries and go to the hospital if recommended.
Cooperate with Police But Do Not Admit Fault
Leave the vehicles involved in the same position if possible. Answer police questions honestly about what happened, but do not admit fault. Circumstances may exist that you are unaware of that absolve you of perceived fault. The other driver may be intoxicated, overly fatigued, or distracted when the accident occurred. If possible, take notes and pictures of the scene and vehicles involved with your cell phone. Take note of the names of responding officers. Also get the names, contact information, and insurance company of the other driver or drivers involved. If there are witnesses, attempt to get their contact information as well. In the days following the accident, keep a record of how you feel and any physical or emotional symptoms that may develop.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
If you choose to hire an attorney, do not contact any insurance company directly. Let your attorney handle the claim from start to finish. If you choose not to hire an attorney, be very careful when dealing with any insurance company. The insurance company for the other driver may attempt to get you to admit fault. Your own insurance company may try to get you to settle for less than you are entitled. If you are not at fault you should not have to pay a deductible, and your insurance company should reimburse your deductible if paid.
Also remember that vehicle damage or replacement may not be the only entitled compensation. Personal property, car rental, and other out of pocket expenses related to the accident may be covered. Keep all documentation related to any expense incurred as a result of the accident (example – took Uber home). The insurance company may require it for reimbursement claims. Additionally, you may be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering compensation, no matter how minimal. Most importantly, do not settle with the insurance company until you are sure you are receiving compensation for all of your expenses and other incidental losses. Once you settle, you cannot go back and ask the insurance company for more money, even for legitimate accident related expenses. Finally, do not sign anything unless you are sure you understand what it means.
An attorney handle the dealings with the insurance company, ensure all forms are filed correctly to everyone, and make sure that you understand everything before you sign it. A good attorney can also make sure that all the deserved compensation is considered and paid to you before it’s too late.
Contact Brent (513-322-2061) for a Consultation
Kohlhepp Law Office
Kohlhepp Law strives to resolve client needs with a personal and comprehensive approach. We set ourselves apart by our commitment to responsiveness and communication. Kohlhepp Law specializes in real estate law, estate planning, business law, insurance claims, personal injury, and OVI/misdemeanor defence.
>> Learn More