Motor vehicles like cars and trucks have traversed roads for well over a century, with countless advancements in technology enhancing safety. As such, today’s passenger vehicles are considerably safer than they were a century or even a decade ago. Despite these improvements, accidents and injuries remain a daily occurrence on American highways and streets.
If a car accident recently injured you in Denver, you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the next steps. However, the actions you take or neglect to take can significantly influence your injury claim and the recovery of deserved compensation. The following outlines crucial steps after a car accident and sustaining injuries. If you need legal assistance, consider reaching out to a Denver car accident lawyer for guidance.
Immediate Actions Following a Car Accident
Certain actions are important after an accident, though you don’t necessarily need to take them right away. Prioritize your immediate medical needs, then work on the following list.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Fulfill your contractual obligation by promptly reporting the accident to your insurance company. Failure to do so may lead to claim denials or policy cancellations.
Depending on your insurer, you can report the incident online or through an app, minimizing the need for spending time on the phone. When reporting, anticipate questions about injuries, medical care, accident details, location, and vehicle damage.
You also retain the right to engage a car accident attorney before reporting, allowing them to assist and safeguard your rights.
Seek Medical Attention
If you haven’t received immediate medical care, schedule a doctor’s appointment promptly. Some injuries may not manifest immediately but can surface with symptoms in the following days or weeks, such as back and neck issues. Seeking prompt medical attention aids in early detection and necessary treatment.
A comprehensive physical assessment, injury documentation, and follow-up care plans by your doctor contribute to ensuring rightful compensation. Adherence to recommended medical care and therapies is vital, as failure to comply may impact your claim’s value.
Seek Any Necessary Follow Up Treatment
If you were previously seen in the emergency room or by another healthcare provider for your car accident injuries, get the follow-up care and treatment you need.
This is what’s best for your health and helps you build a solid legal claim. Whether you need to get additional tests or treatments or have your injuries rechecked, follow those instructions exactly to the best of your ability.
Avoid Apologies or Acknowledging Fault After a Car Accident
Following a car accident, always avoid apologizing or admitting fault, even if there’s a self-perception of partial responsibility.
Despite the natural desire to express remorse that the accident occurred, consider the following factors:
- Legal Implications: Apologies or admissions of fault may be construed as guilt in legal proceedings, potentially jeopardizing your ability to seek compensation for damages. Fault determination is a complex process involving investigation and evidence, and early admissions can undermine your case.
- Potential Misunderstandings: Immediately after it happens, the details of the accident may not be entirely clear. Apologies might be misinterpreted as admissions of wrongdoing, overlooking other contributing factors to the accident.
- Insurance Companies: Insurance adjusters may exploit your statements to minimize their insured’s liability and point the finger at you. Recorded conversations may be used against you, affecting the outcome of your claim. Never apologize when speaking to someone from an insurance company.
- Emotional State: High emotions after an accident can cloud judgment. It’s crucial to avoid statements that can harm your case until you’ve had a chance to consult with legal representation. Stick to the facts and limit communication until you’ve calmed down.
Seeking guidance from a Denver car accident attorney is advised. They can navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and manage communications with insurance companies, ensuring fair compensation for injuries and damages.
Beware of Insurance Adjusters
Shortly after reporting your accident to the insurance company, you can expect a call from the assigned insurance adjuster within a few days. Often appearing genuinely concerned, these adjusters engage in friendly conversations, aiming to establish a rapport.
They intend to make you feel they are on your side, offering unsolicited advice while discouraging you from seeking legal representation and suggesting it may reduce your compensation.
Insurance adjusters prioritize the interests of their employer over accident victims’ interests. While maintaining courtesy, avoid falling for these tactics. Their friendly demeanor may encourage you to share details the insurance company can use against you.
They might exploit seemingly casual information, like an old injury, job loss, or recent activities, to diminish your claim’s value.
- They might attribute your new pain to a pre-existing injury, not a recent accident.
- They can claim that a job loss is your motive for exploiting the accident for financial gain.
- Attending a family barbecue might be twisted to imply alcohol consumption before the accident.
Provide only necessary information and refrain from sharing more than required. If you opt for legal representation, your car accident attorney can handle communication with the insurance adjuster, protecting you from potential pitfalls in the claims process.
Exercise Caution with Recorded Statements
When dealing with insurance adjusters, exercise caution if asked to provide a recorded statement about the accident. Despite their suggestions, the law does not require you to comply.
While a recorded statement may seem harmless, insurance adjusters are skilled in framing questions to their advantage during this process. The recorded nature leaves no room for denial of your statements. Adjusters often exploit this opportunity to manipulate your words or get responses that may harm your claim.
If you decide to go through with a recorded statement, prepare for leading questions, such as:
- You had a little to drink at the party that night, right?
- You did see the other car coming beyond the trees, right?
- So, what you are saying is that you were feeling especially tired that day?
- You didn’t do everything possible to stop in time, did you?
Some insurance adjusters may even get you somewhat irritated or upset to see how you handle yourself or if you mess up explaining your side of the story.
Suppose they suspect you are being too careful or reserved about your conversation. In that case, they might start making negative comments and wait for your reaction. If the adjuster is successful, this will get you talking.
If you do agree to provide a recorded statement, you should know that you can terminate the conversation or decline a recorded statement at any point. If considering legal representation, inform them to communicate through your attorney to safeguard against tactics aimed at undervaluing or denying your claim.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This coverage proves invaluable when dealing with uninsured drivers or hit-and-run incidents. In scenarios where the at-fault driver lacks insurance or in hit-and-run situations, your uninsured motorist coverage can step in to help cover your damages.
Underinsured coverage becomes relevant if the other driver’s insurance policy falls short of covering your full damages. For instance, if your medical bills amount to $20,000 but the other driver’s liability limit is $10,000, you can file an underinsured claim for the additional $10,000.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payment coverage, commonly called MedPay, is a requirement in some states and optional in others. In Colorado, insurance carriers must offer $5,000 of MedPay coverage, but it’s optional for drivers.
Designed to address medical expenses resulting from a car accident, Med Pay becomes particularly crucial if you live in a no-fault car accident state. Regardless of fault, Med Pay provides coverage for medical care, ensuring you have quick access to compensation for necessary medical expenses.
Collision coverage is optional coverage that allows you to file a claim for damages to your vehicle, often providing an alternative to pursuing a claim with the other driver’s insurance.
While a deductible is applicable for utilizing collision coverage, the insurance company initiates the subrogation process to recover this amount. Through subrogation, your insurance company seeks reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance, ultimately returning the deductible to you.
Rental Car Coverage
While certainly not required, rental car coverage is convenient to have. If you elect this coverage before an accident, you can use it to help pay for a rental car while your damaged car is being looked at or fixed. Most policies will pay a set amount per day up to a set amount total per accident.
Why You Should Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney?
Seeking counsel from an experienced car accident attorney is an important step following an injury accident. Understanding your legal rights and the potential worth of your case hinges on this step, making it advisable to consult with an attorney promptly. Delaying such a meeting may pose risks:
Loss or Destruction of Valuable Evidence in Your Claim
An attorney is pivotal in collecting and preserving evidence crucial to your car accident claim. This includes photographs of the accident scene, documentation of injuries, and medical bills. The timelier the evidence collection, the reduced likelihood of its loss, damage, or destruction.
Missing the Lawsuit Filing Deadline
Each state enforces its statute of limitations, defining the timeframe within which injured individuals must file a legal claim. Deadlines can vary, ranging from one to two years in many states to up to five years from the accident date in others. In Colorado, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury.
However, certain situations may afford victims an extended period, so consulting an attorney is essential for precise information tailored to your circumstances. Variances exist for claims involving minors or against government entities.
Failure to file within the statute of limitations forfeits your right to seek compensation through the civil legal system.
Consulting a lawyer promptly ensures the timely filing of your claim.
Potential for Detrimental Mistakes
Hiring an attorney early reduces the likelihood of accidental errors that can significantly affect your case.
Prompt legal guidance minimizes the risk of seemingly innocent mistakes, such as failing to follow up with medical providers, making statements to the insurance adjuster that the insurance company can use against you, or sharing details about your accident or injuries on social media.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help You?
A car accident attorney plays a unique role in guiding individuals through the legal complexities following an auto collision. They serve as a knowledgeable advocate, ensuring that clients understand their rights and the legal avenues available.
This includes assessing the viability of a personal injury claim, estimating the value of damages, and outlining potential courses of action.
Additionally, a car accident attorney becomes a strategic negotiator when dealing with insurance companies. They possess the skills to prevent claimants from being taken advantage of by adjusters seeking to minimize payouts.
Well-versed in dispute resolution, these attorneys negotiate favorable settlements, sparing clients from the stress of prolonged legal battles.
If the case proceeds to court, a car accident attorney provides invaluable representation, presenting the client’s case comprehensively. They leverage legal knowledge, evidence, and skills to advocate for maximum compensation.
Ultimately, the assistance of a car accident attorney is indispensable in securing the best possible outcome for those dealing with the aftermath of a car accident.
The Benefit of Taking the Right Actions Following a Car Accident
Be mindful that the actions you take after involvement in a car accident can have lasting effects, either positive or negative, on your life.
Promptly seeking legal representation and obtaining necessary medical care significantly enhances the likelihood of a successful recovery, both physically and financially, from your injuries.
Initiating a meeting with a personal injury attorney in Denver immediately ensures you follow all essential steps to maximize your compensation.