Serious Auto Accident: Now What?!
Here it is in a nutshell:
1. Whether you were at fault, or the other guy, you are very foolhardy not to talk with an experienced attorney.
2. Of course, you must communicate with your insurance company.
3. Insurance coverages are critically important. Liability coverages, personal injury and property damage, underinsured coverage, in case the guy who hurts you had too little, uninsured, in case he had NO insurance, and “medical payments coverage”, or “med pay”.
4. Depending on fault, the amount of liability coverage may control your financial future.
5. Unless you absolutely know you had no physical injury, GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM! The contention will be you were not really hurt or you would have got treatment. You don’t know how you will feel tomorrow, so get checked out!
6. Assuming you were smart enough to have medical payments coverage, “med pay”, be sure that you report that to your medical provider as your primary coverage. Do not use your medical insurance until you have to. If is is a “ERISA” plan, you may find your carrier has its hand out expecting to be paid most of the available insurance coverage. Med Pay pays for your bills regardless of whether you or the other guy was at fault. The med pay carrier has a subrogation claim against your settlement or judgment, so you need a lawyer to figure it all out.
7. You may be hesitant to consult a lawyer for fear you will get involved in a lawsuit or appear to be greedy. Truth is, a good attorney will settle your claim, without filing suit, and get you twice what you can do yourself.
8. Consider that you simply do not know how to gather documentation of your claim.
9. Consider that at least 1/3 of the cases have a dispute over fault, and only with an attorney can you make your case regarding fault.
10. If you have subtle or disputed injuries, an experienced lawyer knows how to document your claim, with the appropriate specialist, or with “lay witnesses” who knew you before the collision and saw how you have changed since.
11. If there is a severe, permanent injury, you MUST have an attorney. It can mean a huge difference in the outcome. Such cases must have experts, accident reconstructionist, economist, medical specialist, life care planner, structured settlement specialist, and vocational expert. Knowing who they are and how to find them is invaluable.
12. Whether you, your loved one, or your friend has been injured by the mistake of another, I urge you to talk with someone who knows what they are doing. You can always say, “no thanks”, but once you have the facts, you will want to have someone fighting for your or their rights.
This post was written by Burton Hunter