We like to think that everyone will behave fairly, even when there is an accident such as a vehicle collision. Unfortunately, sometimes people involved in crashes will not be completely honest about their own behavior before, during, and after the accident. Even worse, insurance companies, who are often trying to save money on claims, may try to avoid payment by pushing victims to accept a quick settlement.
If you have been involved in a vehicle crash, you should do several things immediately that will help you protect your rights and ensure that you receive compensation for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.
- Gather complete evidence. It is very important to take photos of all angles of the scene, including the approaches, any stoplights or other signals, signage, and both vehicles. You should also have someone help you take photos of any injuries you have sustained. It is also important to be sure that you take down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses. Of course, you should also take the insurance and driver’s license information of the other driver, as well as information on any passengers in either vehicle.
- Seek medical attention. If there is even the slightest possibility that you have been injured, it is very important that you seek immediate medical attention. While you may not think you need medical help, it is still important to document any injuries and show that you sought help at the outset of the process. If you fail to do this, insurance companies or attorneys may try to say that you were not really injured at the scene but were injured later—or not at all. Seeking prompt medical attention is one of the first things judges and juries consider when trying to determine if a person was truly injured in an accident.
- Talk to an attorney. It is very important that you do not try to negotiate with an individual or an insurance company without talking to an attorney. In fact, this is one of the most fundamental rules to follow in any injury case. Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests; they are trying to save money by settling your case for pennies on the dollar of its probable value. Insurance companies pay attorneys large sums each year to help them quickly settle cases because it saves them so much in payouts, so it is critical that you do not think the insurer is “on your side.” Instead, take your case to an attorney who can represent your interests.
At Barber and Associates, we have been protecting the rights of Alaskans for many years and we are here to help you with your accident case. Give us a call and learn how we can work with you to help you recover all of the compensation to which you are entitled for your medical bills as well as your lost wages, expenses, and pain and suffering.