After you suffer injuries in a car accident, your top priority is your recovery. These collisions can contribute to serious economic hardship, physical pain, and emotional suffering — and filing a lawsuit or insurance claim can help you receive the compensation you need to recover from these losses.
Unfortunately, trying to obtain just compensation from an insurance company can be difficult. It is not in the company’s best interests to maximize your recovery, and its representatives may try to provide an insufficient award for your losses. However, you can take several actions immediately after your accident to maximize your chances of a fair settlement.
#1: Preserve Evidence
The moments immediately after a car accident are the most crucial for your future claim. If you can move around without further injury or danger, you should take steps to preserve as much evidence as possible.
Call 911 to bring law enforcement to the scene and establish an official report of the accident. Take photographs of your injuries, property damage, and the area around the crash. If there are any eyewitnesses in the area, ask them for their contact information so you can use their testimony in the future.
#2: Seek Medical Treatment
Insurance companies often scrutinize victims’ actions immediately after an accident, specifically their medical activities. One of the very first steps you should take is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you do not think you have serious injuries.
If you wait too long after an accident to seek help, the insurance company can use the delay as evidence that your injuries are not as serious as you claim them to be. Visit the emergency room immediately after the accident and save all records related to your visit.
#3: Keep the Details of Your Accident Private
Do not speak to anyone about your accident until you speak with your attorney. This is especially crucial at the scene of the crash; if you admit fault and later discover that the other driver was responsible, for example, the company can use your initial statement as evidence against you. You should also avoid posting on social media, since the insurance company may use these posts as evidence that your injuries are not as serious as you claim to be. For best results, stay silent until you speak to your attorney.
You should also avoid discussing your case with an insurance adjuster before contacting a lawyer. You may not know all of the details about your injuries or the accident at this stage, and providing a premature statement can harm you in the long-term. If you discover something new later on, the company may point to the discrepancies in your statements to justify a lower settlement.
#4: Continue to Attend Medical Appointments
To understand how much compensation you actually need to recover, you will need to continue to attend your medical appointments after the accident. Your lawyer will not want to file your claim until you reach maximum medical improvement; at this stage, you gain a clearer picture of your long-term medical needs and the costs associated with them.
By filing a claim too early in your recovery, you may not be able to achieve maximum compensation or sufficient compensation for your injuries. Regularly attending your appointments also signals to the insurance company that your injuries are valid and establishes a history of medical evidence you can use in your claim.
#5: Contact a Colorado Car Accident Lawyer
Finally, one of the most effective strategies to maximize your settlement is to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your attorney can guide you through discussions with the insurance company, helping you avoid common mistakes that could harm your claim. He or she can also estimate the value of your claim and evaluate any offers you receive so you do not accept an insufficient settlement.
Your lawyer will also have the negotiation skills necessary to advocate for your best interests during each stage of your case, progressing your claim to the courtroom if necessary. To protect your right to compensation, contact your Denver car accident attorney to discuss your claim.