Last week we talked about the eight things you should do immediately after you are involved in an auto accident. This week we switch focus to the things you should do in the days and weeks following your auto accident.
Your Medical Issues
Even if neither you nor your family members required emergency medical treatment or were transported to a hospital immediately after the accident, see your doctor if you or any family member experiences one or more of the following symptoms in the days or weeks after your accident:
- Excessive pain
- Headaches, nausea and/or vomiting
- Blurred vision or tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
- Balance problems or loss of coordination
- Numbness or tingling in any part of your body
- Slurring of your speech
- Difficulties concentrating or remembering
- Sleep difficulties
- Unusual mood changes such as hostility, aggression, depression, excessive anxiety, etc.
Since the symptoms of serious and possibly debilitating injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and nerve damage can take days or even weeks to appear, it is crucial that you make an appointment with your doctor or other health care professional if and when you notice new and/or unusual changes in your physical, mental or emotional state.
Keep track of the names of any doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc. you see, as well as the following information:
- Date(s) on which you saw them
- Type(s) of treatment you received
- Name(s) of prescription drug(s) they prescribed
Ask each caregiver for a copy of your medical record. In addition, keep a list of the names of medical providers who referred you to specialists and the type(s) of medicine they practice.
If all of this seems time-consuming and an effort on your part, it is. However, the records you keep now will stand you in good stead later in the event you encounter problems with your insurance company and/or file suit against the driver responsible for your auto accident. Your records are not only proof of your medical expenses, but also evidence of the type(s) and extent of injuries you sustained.
Keep in mind that while your records substantiate your medical treatment, they cannot substantiate the amount of pain and suffering you are experiencing. Consequently, it is a good idea to keep a daily diary of the following:
- If you missed work due to excessive pain
- Any routine activities you cannot perform
- If and how your injuries affect your daily life
- If and how they affect your family life
Your Insurance Company
Get a property damage valuation on your vehicle from your insurance company, and keep an electronic or hard copy of it. If you are dissatisfied with it, get your own independent repair estimates and keep copies of them, too. Do not hesitate to be assertive, although not combative, with your insurance company’s claims adjuster regarding the amount of your vehicle’s damage, its repair costs, and/or the value of your vehicle if you believe it to be a total loss.
It is always a good idea to consult an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney in the first few days following your accident. Why? Should someone from one of the other drivers’ insurance company call or otherwise contact you, get their name and number and tell them they need to speak with your attorney, not with you. Then call your attorney and give him or her the contact information.
Never give an official recorded statement to any insurance company, including your own, or sign a release or settlement offer before discussing it with your attorney. This is especially important if you or a family member suffered injuries in the car crash. Early settlement offers invariably are low, and signing one before you know the extent of injuries, particularly your own, could prevent you from receiving the full compensation to which you are entitled.
For further information, please call DubiLaw toll-free at 833-FOR-DUBI (833-367-3824).