Fortunately, most people have never been injured in a car accident. However, car accidents happen with regular frequency. Because most people have never been injured in a car accident, you may not know what steps to take if you find yourself in this situtation. This blog will help guide you in the right direction.
Seek medical attention if you are injured
First and foremost, if you are injured in a car accident, you should seek medical attention right away. Your automobile insurance policy provides a minimum of $20,000 in medical coverage regardless of fault. This is your no-fault medical coverage.
If you are on the fence about whether your actually injured or not, you should err on the side of seeking medical attention. Many times, the shock and adrenaline of the accident will prevent you from feeling injured. But injuries pop up in the days, weeks, and months following the accident. Because your automobile insurance policy provides at least $20,000 in medical coverage, it should be tapped into immediately.
Your automobile insurance policy also carries a minimum of $20,000 in no-fault replacement service benefits, which include, but are not limited to, income loss and substitute services.
Collect information if someone else is at fault
Fault is a factor to consider in every car accident. If you are injured in a car accident and someone else is at fault for the accident, call the police so they can investigate. While the fact that a person was ticketed for a violation will not be allowed into evidence at a trial, the fact that a ticket was issued--and the at-fault party pleaded guilty to a violation--will be strong evidence when negotiating a settlement with an insurance adjuster. The investigation will also be helpful in corroborating the fault of another. If an officer investigates, and you're able to do so, make sure you get the incident report number from the officer. This will come in handy down the road.
You will also want to collect the at-fault person's insurance information, if they have insurance. You will have a "bodily injury" claim against the at-fault person, and, if they have insurance, there is coverage available to compensate you for your injuries. If the person does not have insurance or not enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries, you may have an uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) claim against your automobile insurance company.
Contact a personal injury lawyer right away
If you've been injured in an accident and someone else is at fault, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away. A personal injury lawyer will help you navigate the personal injury claim, seeking to fully compensate you for your injuries. Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to deal with insurance adjusters, lawyers hired by insurance adjusters, no-fault arbitration, litigation, and the like, all while avoiding potential pitfalls.
Want more information about personal injury claims?
We've blogged extensively and in detail about common personal injury issues, such as how fault matters even though we live in a no-fault state, the types of compensation available to you in a personal injury claim, who pays your medical bills in you are hurt in a car accident, hiring a lawyer in a personal injury case, and various insurance coverages available to you. Check out our injury blog for more information.