From Impact, what is the first move?
The first question and the most important part of the entire process is are you okay? Before we get into the logistics of police reports, medical records, etc., we first want to ensure that you and all parties involved are safe and receive the immediate medical attention that is required.
Once that portion of the process is complete, you will want to get to safety. Often times when an accident happens, the vehicles involved are in the middle of the road. This can be a problem for a number of reasons. One, you want to get out of the car when an accident occurs to make sure that everyone is okay. The problem with this is that you could be hit by oncoming cars that are trying to avoid the accident that just occurred. Second, the accident could have occurred in traffic which could easily result in a vehicle pileup.
After you have gotten yourself to safety and made sure everyone is okay, you’ll want to speak with the other driver. Is everyone in their car okay? Do they need immediate medical assistance? How are the vehicles? Once you have accessed these items, you’ll want to contact the authorities. Even if it is a small fender bender you will want to get the police involved. The reason for this is everything needs to be documented. When the police arrive they will gather all information needed which will begin the police report. Before everyone leaves the scene you’ll also want to gather the other party’s information (name, license, insurance, phone number, etc.).
At what point should I reach out to a lawyer?
There is a rule of thumb that typically applies on if & when to reach out to a lawyer. If you need to seek treatment from a medical professional, that is good assurance that you need to seek legal advice. For example, if you need to go in for a checkup because a small issue is bothering you, gauge that based on your own needs as to if you need to call a lawyer after all the consultation is free! But if you have a broken arm, or leg, or anything along those lines legal counsel is your best option to recover potential losses. Timing is everything in these cases, so if you do have a physical injury, you need to get treatment immediately and have everything documented.
What are some items the lawyers are going to ask for?
First, the lawyer is going to ask if you are okay and if your injuries have been diagnosed and are in the process of treatment. Your health is the number one concern so once that is addressed, we will get to the documentation. Your lawyer is going to ask if you have obtained the necessary information/documents up that point (insurance information, names of parties involved, phone numbers, etc). Once your medical treatment has wrapped up, they will also request any and all medical documents from your doctor and/or hospital. This includes medical records, billing statements, and any and all information that can be used to help your case and get you the maximum payout for your losses.
Another key item that your lawyer will request is that you keep an open email chain to and from one another documenting how you are feeling throughout the process, day to day. A day in the life journal could help in the aspect of lost wages, emotional distress, and other things that you may not be able to see from medical or police records.
One of the final aspects of the case is for the lawyer to send a “demand package” to the insurance company. This includes every fine detail from the case, start to current status. From here, your lawyer will be able to provide more information on finances, the status of the case, and what your next steps are for you to receive your payout from the insurance companies.
As always, Brown & Crouppen’s consultations on these issues are free, so contact us today if you need assistance in your situation.
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