Consulting a Personal Injury Law Firm First

What To Do After a Car Accident - Part 4

Should I call my insurance if it wasn't my fault?

While it is important to comply with the terms of your insurance policy including the reporting of incidents it may be best to talk to an attorney first before contacting an insurance company. Our office offers free consultations and we can guide you through these first steps. When you do communicate with your insurance company do not talk to them about how the accident happened until you talk to an attorney first.

What are the damages available on a personal injury action?

Damages for a personal injury incident generally fall into two categories called economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can be thought of in simple terms like things for which you could provide documentary proof like medical bills and lost wages. This would also include future medical expenses not yet incurred as well as loss of future wages or the ability to earn money in the future. The other category is non-economic damages which include but are not limited to physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress. There is no fixed standard for deciding the amount of non-economic damages. A skilled and experienced advocate like the attorneys at Arthofer & Tonkin can vigorously prosecute your rights with a defendant, adverse insurance company, or, if necessary, at a jury trial.

Should I accept the first offer of compensation?

No! The first offer of compensation from an adverse party or an insurance company will undoubtedly be unreasonably low. It is important to have the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney like those at Arthofer & Tonkin. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

Do I call my insurance if it is not my fault?

Let us help you decide what is the appropriate course of action regarding insurance companies, including your own insurance provider, after you have been involved in an accident.

This is the fourth part of our video series about what to do after you have been in an automobile accident. You can check out parts one through three on other video links that you can find here on this page. Brief recap, it is important to make sure that you are not putting yourself in a dangerous position after an accident. Check out that video because sometimes the right thing to do might be to stay in your car and stay seatbelted. In other traffic situations or weather conditions, it might be appropriate to try and move your car off the road. We have got a second and third part to that video series where we give you some other helpful tips about what to do after you have been in an accident. However, now we have reached the point where insurance information is exchanged, law enforcement has been contacted, and we have started to get involved in the insurance process. You could receive a call from an insurance company as soon as a few hours after the accident that you have been involved in.

It is important to keep priorities at this time after an accident. Your priorities need to be making sure that you are in a safe spot, you are not going to make a bad situation worse, and then it is getting the medical care that you need to get better, or for example, if you have a spouse or a friend or kids in the car, making sure that everybody in the car is getting care and treatment that they need. There is no urgency to talk to any insurance company immediately after an accident, even your own, from a legal standpoint. So if you get a phone call on the day of the accident or shortly after the accident, let that phone call go to voicemail. Keep first things first, and at this point, you need to make yourself and your well-being a priority. The insurance companies can wait. One of the mistakes we have seen come up over the years is when people talk to an insurance company immediately after an accident. They say something that the insurance company then tries to use against them later. Let me give an example. Accidents are very high stress, stimulating situations, not necessarily exciting in a good way, but they are certainly surprising. The body has a biochemical response to a severe incident like an automobile accident or trip and fall accident, and one of those responses includes the production of a great deal of adrenaline.

Adrenaline can mask some of the injuries you have, so if you are talking to an insurance company immediately after an accident and ask about your injuries, you may reasonably say that you are not feeling any or only feeling minor injuries at that point. However, we have probably all had those instances in life where we have a hard workout, a strenuous hike, some physically challenging activity on day one, but you go to bed feeling good and you wake up the following day very, very stiff and sore, or even two mornings later, feeling like you have just been in a fight. Well, car accidents and other injury incidents are not different from that. You may wake up the next morning realizing how seriously you have been hurt. As those chemical responses start to fade out of your body, you are going to feel very sore, painful and injuries that you did not know that you had may start to rise to the surface. Suppose you have spoken to the insurance company before that happens, and you have provided the information about how you are feeling. In that case, you can bet they are going to try and use that against you later to say, “Well, on the first day after the accident, we spoke and you told us that you were not hurt or that your injuries were not very severe, and now your lawyer is telling us that you were hurt and you had medical treatment.”

That is why you do not need to give a statement immediately after an accident. Moreover, you need to be calm when you are giving a statement, and that is important to have a wise counselor, a reasonable attorney on your side who can talk to you about what needs to be said and what does not need to be said. You can also trust that when you are on the phone with an insurance company, it is being recorded, so you hear that line almost all the time when you are talking to a business now, “This conversation may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.” Well, you can bet that the conversation is being recorded for a number of purposes, including possibly quality assurance, but certainly, it is to pin you to a particular version of events that you may provide before you know the whole story. So if you have been in an accident, before you talk to an insurance company about your injuries, give us a call at the Arthofer & Tonkin Law Offices. Our consultations are free, and there is no cost to you to call our offices to meet with one of our attorneys if we decide to investigate your case. Further, there is a link below that you can click and call us now. Thanks for your time.

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