1. Always call the police after a car accident involving injury – no matter how minor. When the police arrive, they will investigate the crash and make an independent record of what happened. The other driver will often change their story at a later date. Do not allow them to talk you into not calling the police because they admit fault.
2. Never give a recorded statement to the insurance company before you have spoken to a car accident attorney. The insurance adjustors are trained to trick you into saying things that will hurt your case – without you even knowing it.
3. Always get names and contact information for witnesses. They may be necessary to help prove your case if the insurance company ends up contesting liability.
4. Always get timely medical treatment. If you do not, the insurance company will claim that you were not injured. The longer you wait to seek medical care, the more you are harming your case.
5. Never accept a settlement without speaking to your lawyer. Many times insurance companies offer quick settlements to car accident victims before they have a chance to speak with an attorney about it. These offers will almost always be far too low. If you don’t already have an attorney, most car accident attorneys offer free consultations.
At some point in our lives, most of us will experience a car accident. It is important to stay at the scene until the police arrive and tell you that you can leave. If somebody is injured, do not attempt to move them unless you are a trained first responder. Have somebody call the police to report the car accident, and take whatever steps are necessary to warn approaching traffic of the car accident.
It is extremely important to obtain information. In any car accident you should obtain information about the other driver, such as the name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number. You should also obtain the name, address and telephone number of any witnesses to the car accident. Be sure to also get the name and department of the investigating officer, as well as the “incident number” assigned by the investigating officer.
Never admit fault or liability following a car accident, even if you think you are at fault. Many times, people involved in car accidents aren’t aware of all of the factors that caused the accident. Do not make statements to anybody at the accident scene, except for the police. When you speak to the police, only tell them the facts of what happened. There is no need to elaborate. Let the investigating officer draw his or her own conclusion from the facts.
Be sure to seek medical care following the car accident, even if you think that you have not been injured. There are many types of injuries that can result from car accidents that do not immediately appear, or that get worse over time. It is important to get immediate medical care in order to insure that insurance benefits will cover these types of injuries. Unless you are absolutely positive that you are not injured, do not attempt to drive away from the scene. Call a friend or family member to drive you home or to the hospital, or let the ambulance personnel take you to the hospital. The “adrenaline rush” from the accident can mask your symptoms. A physical examination may reveal an injury that you do not yet feel. Be sure to tell the doctor if you have any loss of memory, headache, blood or fluid in your ear, dizziness, tinnitis (ringing in the ears), disorientation, nausea, confusion, or any other unusual physical or mental feeling. Many people hit their heads, or suffer brain injuries in car accidents, and don’t realize that they are injured.
If injury occurs as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another, you should be compensated for your injury. However, that rarely happens. Many people will not take responsibility for their actions, and insurance companies profit from under-compensating car accident injury victims. Insurance companies and their lawyers will work quickly to get you to accept a low settlement amount before you contact a car accident attorney. They know that most non-lawyer car accident victims have no idea what legal rights and remedies they possess.
An experienced West Virginia car accident attorney such as John H. Bryan, Attorney at Law, knows how to build your case, how to negotiate your case with an insurance company, and, if necessary, how to take your case to trial. Don’t let the insurance company deny you the compensation that you deserve. Call John H. Bryan, Attorney at Law at 1-888-54-JBLAW for a free consultation find out your rights and remedies immediately. You can also email us or submit your case for a free and confidential review by clicking here.