What to Do After an Accident Ways You Can Help Your Personal Injury Claim March 2019 www.wilson-law-office-elkhart.com 574-522-1900
Since 1993, I’ve represented people seeking fair compensation for their injuries. In that time, I’ve seen just about every trick in the insurance company’s playbook when it comes to ways they can diminish or deny your claim. Looking back at these cases, there are two common pitfalls I see clients fall into — and the worst part is, they’re avoidable. These pitfalls are 1) failing to gather information at the scene of an accident, and 2) failing to follow up on medical treatment. More often than not, these lapses simply happen because people don’t know the importance of action in the first place. After all, most of us don’t go through our lives thinking about what we’d do after something as traumatic as a car crash. But make no mistake, both of these areas create gaps in your case even the most experienced lawyers can’t save you from. Let’s tackle information-gathering first. Most people know that you are meant to exchange things like insurance numbers with the other driver and file a police report after a car accident. But this is really the bare minimum when it comes to gathering evidence for your case. Even if you have a photographic memory, insurance company experts and lawyers are pros when it comes to poking holes in a claimant’s testimony. To protect yourself from this, there are two things you can do. First talk to witnesses. If someone on a street corner witnessed your car accident, or a bystander in a grocery store saw you slip and hit your head, you’re going to want to get their contact information. Having the testimony of a third party can strengthen your case immensely. These people will be impossible to track down after the fact, so please talk to them while you can. Simply ask them if they saw what happened, and
if they wouldn’t mind giving you a way to reach them, should their testimony become important. Second take pictures. The last thing you want is for your case to become a “he said, she said” argument where the only thing the court has to go on is your memory. Being able to have photographic evidence of the scene of the accident can help your cause immensely. Images like an intersection that proves you had right of way, or a slick supermarket floor lacking any caution signs can be foundational to your case’s success. A little information-gathering in the moments after an accident can help you immensely down the road. In the days and months that follow, the most important thing you can do is keep up with your medical treatment. There are many reasons people with injuries forgo or lapse their treatment, prohibitive medical costs being chief among them. But these treatment gaps will cause the nature of your injuries to be called into question. This means you could go for long periods in pain and still fail to receive compensation for your injuries.
That’s why it’s important to seek treatment and stick to any medication or therapy regimens that your doctor prescribes. If pain persists with no perceivable change, seek a second opinion from a medical professional. Anything is preferable to simply giving up on treatment. Also, be sure to keep records of all your doctor visits, therapy appointments, and prescriptions after an accident. These are concrete steps you can take to help yourself after an accident. Many people simply don’t know how much these actions can help, and end up leaving insurance adjusters too much room to poke holes in their claim. Both of these steps serve to bolster your credibility after an accident, so the most important thing you can do is remain credible. Nothing will hurt your personal injury case more than dishonesty. Be honest about the events of the accident, and the pain you feel afterwards, then let the facts you collect speak for themselves.
-Tom Wil son
www.wilson-law-office-elkhart.com | 1
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