WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEBODY HITS YOU
25 RULES TO LIVE BY
Many clients have come into my office over the years when they were involved in an auto wreck because they simply had no idea how to handle their claim with the insurance company. Without question, dealing with Insurance companies can be tough for both the injured driver and attorneys. I developed this list as a way to help clients and non clients alike deal with their insurance company after being hit by a negligent driver.
- Call an Officer, explain that you have been involved in a car accident and you would like an officer to come to the scene and write a police or accident report.
- Make sure the Officer writes a report once at the scene, and that the report includes the other driver(s) insurance information, best contact number, their home address and phone number and the make and model of all the vehicles involved.
- If there is a witness, insist that the officer take a statement from any and all witness.
- If you are in pain or injured do not be afraid to get medical treatment. Have the officer request an ambulance, if necessary, or drive yourself to your local medical provider.
- If your car is being towed, find out which towing company will be taking your vehicle and where they will take your car to. This can save you a lot of time later, and also prevent you from incurring large fees from the tow company for storing your car.
- Never wait to get medical treatment. The longer you wait, the greater the chance an insurance company will say that some intervening event caused your injury, or that it is a pre-existing condition acting up. The rule of thumb is to seek medical treatment within 24 hours of an accident.
- Call your insurance agent as soon as reasonably possible, even if the accident is not your fault. If you do not report the accident within a specific time period (usually 30 days), your insurance carrier can deny coverage for your personal injuries or repairs for your car.
- Always inform your agent if you will, or have already, required medical treatment, if your car was damaged and where you car is currently located. Be sure to let your agent know if a rental car will be required.
- Always provide your agent with the accident report and insurance information for the at-fault driver as well as any police report if one was provided.
- Never agree to give a recorded statement or give a statement without consulting with an attorney first, or until you are absolutely sure you are completely done treating medically and will require no further treatment.
- Never discuss with any insurance agent any prior surgeries or medical conditions or treatments you have received without consulting with an attorney. An insurance agent should only ask questions concerning the accident and current treatment, they should not ask questions about prior incidents. If your agent asked about prior treatment, don’t answer and tell them politely that you only want to discuss the current accident, that you are not answering any questions about your past.
- If you are in pain, when you see your family doctor, describe the pain in detail to your physician, ask the doctor to make a note of it in his/her medical records and request that you be referred to a specialist. Let your doctor know that you were involved in an accident and that you need to have everything documented just in case the at-fault's insurance denies your claim.
- Ask your doctor to document if your current symptoms are related to the car accident or something else as an insurance carrier may refuse to pay for your medical treatment later claiming it was somehow unrelated.
- Ask your insurance agent if you have P.I.P. (Personal Injury Protection) on your policy. This is coverage for personal injury to you regardless of fault and can be paid right away to help you pay doctors bills for needed treatment. Personal Injury Protection is usually in the amount of 2,500.00 or less but it helps to pay co-pays and minimum payments until coverage issues can be straightened out.
- If you need continuing medical treatment make an appointment with an attorney right away and ask that they make arraignments for your continued care by sending a letter of protection to a specialist who can help you.
- Get your own estimate for repairs at a reliable body shop which you trust and ask them if they work with the particular insurance carrier involved. Get the estimate in writing and send it to your insurance agent as soon as practicable.
- Work with your agent to resolve the property damage aspect of your claim. An attorney will not be able to help you resolve the property damage amount paid by the insurance carrier. The amount paid for property damaged to your car is determined by the book value of your car and the estimates to repair your car. If you owe more than your car is worth it is likely that you will not receive enough money to pay off your car even if the accident was not your fault. Many insurance companies sell gap insurance for this reason. Your agent may be able to help you to get the at fault agent to pay a little more so ask them to help.
- Once a final offer is made concerning your property damage it can be costly to not accept it even if you are unhappy with the offer as fees may continue to occur from the towing company or rental car agency. The insurance company will not be responsible for the charges incurred as a result of your refusal to accept the book value of your car.
- Document everything. If you go to a doctor document it. If you wait an hour and a half in the Doctors waiting room document it. If you are doing something around the house which now causes you pain which didn’t before your accident document it. This will help insure you get compensated for your pain and suffering.
- Keep records of all prescription medications.
- Keep records of all doctor’s appointments. Always have treating physician’s document your pain and discomfort. Ask the doctor to document if he is relating your current symptoms to the accident or some other event.
- Keep records of all doctor’s bills.
- Keep records of any towing fees and rental car charges.
- Keep detailed records of anytime you have missed from work as a result of the accident even if you use vacation time or sick days.
- When talking with your insurance company or the at faults ALWAYS document who you talked to, what time and day your called and what you were told by the agent. When told something will be handled ALWAYS ask for a time line and document what you were told. ALWAYS be nice to any and all insurance agents as getting frustrated or angry will not help the process.
I hope that you have found this list beneficial in dealing with your insurance agents when involved in an automobile accident.
Find out more at MyrtleBeachCriminalLawyer.com
Find out more at MyrtleBeachCriminalLawyer.com