Car accidents can be life changing. Not only are you having to potentially deal with property loss or damage but you may also have sustained personal injuries from that same car accident which may cause pain and suffering as well as economic losses such as lost wages and accrued medical expenses. Navigating the intricacies of the recovery process post-accident can be traumatic and stressful not only due to the pain and suffering and economic losses but also the sheer difficulty of having to deal with adverse insurance companies. Let us be honest……insurance companies have 1 objective which is to pay as minimum as possible, if anything at all, from a car accident that is the fault of its insured.
So, what should you do after a car accident that is the fault of another party?
We first recommend that you contact law enforcement to file a crash report from the scene of the car accident. Why? Documentation beats conversation. You should want and we, as attorneys, need for parties to contact law enforcement to investigate and prepare a crash report so that the parties to the accident, the description of the accident (including a diagram), the insurance policy information for all parties, and the list of citations and witnesses, if any, are documented. In the event that law enforcement is not contacted and there is no crash report, it becomes an uphill battle to argue and assess liability particularly when a party does not voluntarily acknowledge liability or responsibility for his/her negligence in causing the car accident. Further to this, if possible, take photos of the damage to the vehicles involved in the car accident as well as the physical location of the car accident.
Next, we recommend that you immediately [emphasis added] seek medical attention. This means that the same day of the car accident, you either visit the emergency room, urgent care, or your primary care physician, if at all possible. Why is this important? Many times after a car accident, we are sometimes rushed with a range of emotions to the extent that we may initially feel well as our mind has not yet processed any pain. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more remote your injuries become to that car accident. In such cases, this weakens your position with the insurance company as it frustrates the process of drawing a direct causal link between the car accident and the personal injuries that you sustained from that same car accident. In the event that you are not able to seek immediate medical attention, then please do so within the first few days of the car accident. Upon seeking medical attention, the medical provider will advise as to any next steps in a medical treatment plan for your recovery.
Lastly, we recommend that you speak with an experienced Personal Injury attorney to discuss your legal rights particularly prior to providing any statements to the insurance company. Most times, an insurance company will attempt to obtain a recorded or written statement from you. As the adverse insurance company is not working for you or in your best interest, such company utilizes this off-guard opportunity to obtain a statement from you that can be used against [emphasis added] you. Specifically, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state meaning that if you are at least 1% at fault in a car accident that you could be barred from recovering any damages from that car accident. So, plainly speaking, it is in your best interest to allow an experienced Personal Injury attorney to help you navigate that process to ensure that you are not voluntarily providing any statements that essentially could bar you from any recovery from your car accident.
While we are not eager for anyone to be involved in a car accident, we do endeavor to lead injured parties through the complexities of the personal injury process. It is our goal that our clients focus solely on their physical recovery while we focus on advocating for a full and fair financial recovery. In the event that you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, please contact one of our trusted attorneys at Peace & Squires Law. We are here to help.