If you’ve been involved in an accident in Boise or anywhere else, you know what a difficult experience it can be. People are often confused, upset and may even be unconscious. If you know what to do it can help the immediate situation and will help with your accident or injury claim later on.
The following is a checklist of items that should be followed if you are in a motor vehicle accident of any type:
- Call the police immediately or ask someone else to do it.
- Request an ambulance if anyone is injured.
- Don’t move the vehicles before the police arrive unless they pose a hazard.
- Exchange drivers’ insurance information.
- Get contact information for any witnesses.
- Obtain medical treatment immediately.
- If the police don’t prepare an accident report, make certain you file one as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to your insurance company.
- Contact your own insurance company if you have no fault medical benefits available.
- Don’t give statements to the other driver’s insurance company or a release of information form until you have contacted a lawyer.
- Obtain three written car damage estimates.
- Strictly follow your doctor’s orders.
- Hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
Document the Accident so Details Are Not Forgotten
As soon as possible you should write down everything you remember about the accident. Otherwise, as time passes you will forget many of the details. Keep all of your information in a file or folder.
The other driver’s insurance company may ask you to give them a statement. We recommend that you not give such a statement, at least without first consulting an attorney. You should always tell the truth but you are not required or obligated to give a statement to the insurance adjuster. People often say more than they should say and say things in a way that later hurts their case. You can politely refuse an interview by saying you would like to consult a lawyer first. You do want to talk with your own insurance company, however, so that they are aware of the accident and so you can receive any medical payment benefits that may be available.
Keep an Injury Journal
People often forget many of the problems they suffer after a serious injury. You should begin keeping a written journal immediately. However, we recommend that you keep this journal separate from any other personal journals or diaries you may have. You will probably be required to provide the journal to the insurance company at some time in the case. This information can be very helpful at the time of settlement negotiations or trial.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
It is important that you recover fully, or as much as possible, from your injuries. You should faithfully follow any instructions from your doctor or physical therapist. Be sure to keep any appointments with specialists, physical therapists, etc. In our opinion, legal issues should be secondary to your full recovery. Also, if the case is not settled and ultimately goes to trial, the fact that you did not follow the doctor’s orders may be used against you.
The Importance of Medical Records
Medical records are a very important part of your accident claim. Please be aware and assume that everything stated and/or observed by your doctor may be taken down in detailed notes. These notes, or a report made from them, are later read by the insurance company when it is time to negotiate the value of your personal injury claim. The value of your claim largely depends on your doctors’ reports. If your doctor is not aware of your limitations, pain, etc., he/she will not provide that information in the report. If your doctor feels an injury is exaggerated, it may be put in a report.
Payment of Medical Bills
Be certain to contact all your own insurance carrier(s) immediately regarding payment of your medical bills. You may have medical payments coverage available through an auto policy. You might also have health insurance that can help.
If it appears that your case is going to drag on for a while, contact your medical care providers and explain the situation to them. Most of them will cooperate with you. If you have a lawyer, ask your lawyer to keep them updated on the progress of the case.
Other Important Records Including Lost Income
Keep receipts from any prescriptions or medications that you have had to purchase and any other out-of-pocket expenses. Also keep track of mileage to see medical providers, particularly if you are required to travel significant distances to get treatment for your injuries. Some of these expenses may be reimbursable at the time of settlement with the insurance company.
Income Loss VerificationN
If you lost any income through employment or odd jobs, those losses must be documented. You may also have wage benefits available under your auto policy, or another auto policy, such as the driver or owner of the car. In addition, if you were employed there might be wage loss benefits available through your employer or union. If you are going to be off work for any length of time, it is important to explore every avenue.
Get an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
It’s really important that you choose an experienced personal injury lawyer. There are a lot of attorneys advertising for business but not all of them are experienced trial attorneys. Find out how many trials, mediations, arbitrations, and settlements they have had.
Believe me, the insurance companies and their attorneys know the experienced trial lawyers and it does make a big difference.
Let the personal injury attorneys at Montgomery Law use their experience and knowledge to help you. Our firm has established a reputation for the individualized service and the results we’ve achieved for previous clients. Many of our clients are referred to us by other attorneys. In more than 35 years of personal injury experience, Gary Montgomery has tried over 100 jury trials and settled several thousand more cases.
We recognize that many people, especially those that have suffered severe injury or harm, are unable to cover the high costs of an hourly attorney who charges for every minute of his time. We don’t work that way. We are contingency fee lawyers, meaning we don’t get paid unless you get paid. Our success for our clients has kept us in business for over 35 years.
Most importantly, we pride ourselves on our commitment to helping our clients achieve the monetary recoveries they deserve.