Any impact can hurt you, your passengers, make you miss work, lose the use of your vehicle while it is being repaired or the insurance company may “total” the car. You could be driving a car, truck, motorcycle or off-road vehicle and get hurt unexpectedly. Because these things happen very quickly you may not be fully prepared to handle what comes next, the paperwork.
His insurance company; her insurance company; police reports; photographs of the scene; PIP claims; car rentals; medical records, and medical bills; car shop repairs, doctor’s reports. Where does the paperwork end?
Contacting an attorney after a collision will help you make sense of what to do after a collision. It is helpful for the police to have all the pertinent information available at the scene, names, addresses, injuries, insurance company information, car registration etc. The insurance company may contact the individuals involved very quickly after an accident to “record a statement” of what happened. Speak to an attorney first. Find out what rights you have and how to protect yourself. Find out what you can do to get FULL VALUE FOR YOUR CAR.
- You will need time to find out who is at fault. Even if you think it is your fault, there may be other factors that you are unaware of that played a role. It may turn out that the other driver was more at fault that you know.
- Find out before you make statements to anyone else that was involved in a collision or any one that witnessed the collision.
- Find out whether to sign any paperwork, release, authorization for work, financial or medical records that is presented to you by anyone. An attorney will instruct you on what has to be released.
- Find out if you need to take pictures of the scene.
- Find out whether to see a doctor or go to the emergency room within 24 hours if you or any of your passengers were injured. Even though you may not feel something right away. Serious, even fatal injuries may be masked by natural results of a car crash.
- Find out if you should keep a journal of what you experience, write down your physical symptoms, any doctor’s appointments you needed to make, how much time you missed from work because of your injuries, what the repair shop charged to fix your car.
- Find other valuable answers to urgent pressing questions by contacting an attorney now, even if you don’t have car insurance, or have been involved in a hit-and-run collision.
If an insurance adjuster calls you before you speak with an attorney, ask for a claim number and let them know you will get back in touch with them and then ask an attorney whether to give them a recorded statement.
MICHAEL A. O'HARA, PLLC