In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s natural to be in shock and confused as to what to say or do next. With personal injury claims, proper and timely documentation is of utmost importance. Representation by an experienced attorney is vital from the start, but here are the absolute best tips for laying a strong foundation for your case, beginning at the accident scene.

You should not discuss your case with an insurance investigator or take any settlement offers prior to seeking counsel. Here’s at The Law Offices of Stanley C. Franklin, our experience and qualified assistance will ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for the injuries and damages you have suffered.

If I’m involved in a motor vehicle accident, what do you suggest I do?

At the scene of the collision:

  1. Do not admit fault. As human beings, our initial response is to apologize, even when you know you did not cause the accident. Resist the urge to say “sorry.” If the police arrive, be careful as to what statements you make. You do not want to say anything that will adversely effect you.

  2. Identify all parties and witnesses. Be sure to get the contact and insurance information from all the involved parties. Get driver’s license information and vehicle plate numbers. Get names, addresses and phone numbers of all parties and witnesses. If you don’t have a pen, use your smartphone to take pictures of these documents.

  3. Photograph your car & the scene. Take pictures of your car and any other cars involved at the scene of the accident. Also, take photos of the street or intersection where cars collided. This can help show the seriousness of the accident. All smartphones geotag the location of where the pictures were taken.

After the accident:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention. If you are injured, either go to the emergency room, urgent care center or make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. Do not wait to see a doctor, otherwise you run the risk of the insurance company devaluing your case by claiming your injuries were not serious. Nobody likes going to the doctor even when your injury is serious because you hope the pain will go away or the damage to your body will heal itself, but it is critical that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not let the insurance company choose a doctor for you. See your own doctor or one recommended to you by someone you trust.

  2. Photograph your injuries. Take pictures of any visible injuries before they heal. Bruises, cuts, scrapes, swelling. Anything to show that you really have been injured will help prove the severity of the accident. In some cases, the seat belt strap will bruise you across the shoulder and chest and the bruises may take several weeks to heal.

  3. Be careful who you talk to. Be prepared for flurry of communications with the insurance companies. LEAVE THIS TASK TO YOUR ATTORNEY. Many insurance companies request victims to give recorded statements about the accident and your injuries. In most instances, it is not advisable to give a recorded statement because anything said could potentially be used against you, especially if you happen to say something adverse to your interests. Also, the insurance companies will request that you sign medical authorizations so that they can obtain your medical information. We again recommend that you do not sign the authorization as the insurance company may request records 10 or 15 years prior to the accident to try and find any evidence they can use to allege that you have a pre-existing condition and thus deny that your injuries were caused by the accident. We advise you to talk with an attorney before talking to an insurance company because insurance companies often try to get you to settle your case as early as possible. You do not want to settle your case until you have fully healed or have reached optimal medical improvement, which is recovering to the fullest extent possible. If you have vehicular damage, you have every right to choose your own bodyshop. Do not let the insurance company convince you to use their “approved” bodyshop.

  4. Put your social media on lockdown. Do not post anything regarding your well being, the facts of your accident, or your treatment status, especially when it is easily searchable by the the insurance company. Insurance companies love to scour the internet and gather evidence as proof that you are not injured. It is preposterous for them to assume that taking a smiling photograph or socializing proves your are not injured, but they love making these threats to devalue your injuries. Stay ahead of there tactics and on top of your social media. Make sure all of your accounts remain private.

  5. Keep records of expenses. Insurance companies need written or other documentary proof of anything you claim as an expense. Be sure to keep receipts for prescriptions, household services like lawn-mowing, maids to clean for you and other related items.

  6. Keep loss of earnings records. If you miss any work, let your employer know that you are missing work because of injuries sustained in a car accident so your loss of wages can be established. Keep your pay-stubs and records from your doctor approving a medical work leave.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Most importantly, contact us. Without legal help from an exclusive automobile accident law firm such as The Law Offices of Stanley C. Franklin, you may have no idea of the real value of your claim or what you should do in dealing with the insurance company.

You can contact The Law Offices of Stanley C. Franklin either via email at info@stanleyfranklinlaw.com, or call us at 800-901-0344.