After an accident, you're undoubtedly wondering, "What's next?" Not only are you in pain, but your medical bills are mounting, the insurance company won't stop calling and you feel unsure of what to do next.
Every day, I get calls from people who've been hurt in car accidents, bitten by dogs, slipped and fell at work, and the like. Over the years, I've come to realize that for most people, it's not obvious what to do after an accident. And in fact, I've seen a pattern of post-accident mistakes that victims make over and over again.
Here are the top mistakes I see on a daily basis, how you can avoid them, and your step-by-step guide moving forward.
1) After an Accident, Go to the Doctor
When I check in with my clients, the first thing I ask is "How are your injuries doing?" If you're in pain, you should be going to the doctor. It's my number one rule.
There are a lot of people who worry about medical bills and the mounting cost of doctor's appointments. Instead of paying to be seen, they'd rather "tough it out." If you're one of these people, I admire your strength and I understand your hesitation, but I want you to stop.
Not only does avoiding the doctor delay the healing process, but it can actually hurt your case. When there's a gap in your treatment, it's like saying to the insurance company "I'm not really hurt." They assume that if you're hurt, you'll go to the doctor. If they see you've missed appointments or stop treating, then your injuries must "not be that bad."
What's worse is that juries often buy this argument. Protect yourself - get the treatment you need, even if you have to use your own healthcare at first.
- To learn more, read Why Should I Have to Use My Own Health Insurance to Pay for My Medical Bills If the Accident Wasn't My Fault?
2) Take Pictures of Your Damages and Injuries
While this might be automatic to some, others don't always recognize the importance of pictures. After an accident, take out your smartphone and snap away. Get pictures of the scene of the accident, your damaged vehicle, your injuries, and so on. If you aren't able to take pictures right after the incident (like if you're rushed to the ER), do your best to document everything afterwards.
Why are pictures so important? They're a clear representation of the pain, suffering and damage that you endured as a result of the accident. Furthermore, it can take months before your case is tried before a jury - plenty enough time for your damages and injuries to heal. Pictures will preserve the incident forever.
If you've been in a car wreck, I would also urge you to take pictures of the other party's vehicle. If they're at-fault, you can't rely on them to document anything.
- Were you hurt in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? Get your questions answered for FREE. No strings attached. I welcome all calls at 817-294-1900.
One of the most important parts of being in a car accident is having the appropriate amount of evidence to demonstrate to a grand jury that the injuries you suffered were great. This can be done by having the right type of evidence, which is why it is stressed in this section. If there is any type of document or record that you may think can add value to your case, you may be right! We have an expert team of records clerks that handle all of the medical paperwork that is generated from your treatment, and it is used to the best of its ability! Having very little evidence can be a disservice to a claim, and having too much general evidence does not help either. It is important to have the sufficient amount of evidence with the right contents that can help justify your case.
3) Don't Forget the Texas Statute of Limitations
In Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Two years might seem like a long time, but let me tell you from experience - it's not.
Let me be clear - right now, you do know you need to make a claim. Someone else caused your accident and you want compensation to pay for you medical bills, missed work days, pain and suffering. However, you don't yet know if you'll need to file a lawsuit. It can easily take two years before you realize a lawsuit is in the cards. That's why the earlier you start, the better.
If you're going to hire an attorney, now's the time. But how do you know if you need to hire an attorney?
To answer that question, read How Do I Know If I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
4) Educate Yourself
You're already on the right path. Below are additional questions I commonly receive at my firm that I think you'll find helpful.
In addition, I'm here to answer questions. If you've been hurt in an accident that wasn't your fault in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I offer FREE, no obligation consultations. Furthermore, I don't charge you a dime unless I win you full compensation.
During our consultation, we'll discuss your case and what I think it's worth, and I'll give you additional direction and steps you can take to help yourself. I'm a straight shooter and I'll let you know if I can help you or not.