Attorneys can only work with the facts and evidence that they have in any case. You can help your attorney and your chances of getting fully compensated for your injuries if you take a few steps to get yourself better and document your damages.
Stay at the scene. Do not leave the scene after an accident, even if it is minor. Leaving the scene of an accident could result in criminal charges.
Check on everyone. Keep your cool and check to make sure everyone is alright. If someone is injured, do not attempt to move them.
Call 911. Summon emergency help. The police need to make a report and someone might require EMS assistance.
Talk to all the witnesses. Get the name, address and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Don’t count on the responding police officer to do this. Also take note of any cameras that may have captured the accident.
Take pictures. Use your cell phone to take pictures at the scene and of the damage to your vehicle after the accident. Also take pictures of any injuries you suffer. Continue to take pictures as you heal. If you do not have a cell phone with a camera, put a disposable camera in your car’s glove box.
Seek medical care. If you are injured, seek medical care immediately. If you are seen in the emergency room, make sure to follow up with your family physician.
Contact the car insurance of everyone involved. The at-fault driver’s car insurance should pay for all damages. Make sure to note if the driver was not the owner of the car in the collision. There may be more insurance than just the car involved in the accident.
Keep track of all doctor’s bills and lost time from work.
If you have a prolonged injury, keep a journal of your symptoms. Stating that you were in pain for a month is not as effective as being able to show what your pain levels were on specific days. Journals also show how you had to modify your life on a specific day to accommodate your pain level and your doctor’s appointments.
Cooperate with your health insurance on getting your bills paid. Make sure your health insurance is paying your medical bills. Car insurance does not typically pay medical bills directly. It is more advantageous to you for your health insurance to pay the bills. You may have to reimburse your health insurance in certain circumstances from your settlement, but you will take advantage of your health insurance company’s discount with your health care provider.
Medicare and Medicaid must be paid back under the law. Again, it is more advantageous to you to have Medicare or Medicaid pay the bill and then you reimburse them with your settlement. Legal advice can help tremendously with navigating these issues and explaining this relationship of health insurance and car insurance settlements.
Don’t take a quick check for your personal injuries. Some injuries are not discovered right away and some may get worse over time. If you settle right after the accident, you may be on the hook for the rest of your care out of pocket.
Find all the insurance. If you have serious medical bills, there may be several layers of insurance that may cover your losses including: multiple liability policies, multiple underinsured motorist coverages, medical payments coverage, and umbrella coverage. You may need legal advice to make sure you have uncovered all the possible available insurance.
Don’t post about your accident on social media. Even if you have all of your privacy setting on high, all that you post to social media can later be discoverable. Even if you have deleted them.