Things can get pretty complicated when you’re hurt in an auto accident. It makes sense to consult Indianapolis accident lawyers to protect your legal and financial interests, but is there anything you can do to help? Yes.
You have legal rights, but you also have personal responsibilities. While your lawyer is doing his part, he’ll need your cooperation to properly develop and present your injury case to the liability insurance company or perhaps in court some day. Here are a few things you can do to help things go smoothly.
Don’t talk about the accident
When you’re hurt, you might want to rehash the details over and over again, but restrain yourself. If you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, it could come back to haunt you some day.
Liability issues can get complicated. Under Indiana’s Comparative Negligence statutes, you can collect money for your injuries as long as you are no more than 50 percent at fault. Even if your negligence is minimal, the statements you make may be interpreted otherwise if the person you spoke to gives a statement or is called as a witness one day. It really can get complicated, so it’s best to leave all the accident-related discussions to your lawyers and their legal staff.
Don’t talk to the liability insurance adjuster
When the other guy turns in an auto accident claim to his insurance company, an adjuster will contact you. If there are injuries and liability issues, he may call for an appointment or simply show up at your door. He’ll want a statement, a medical release, and other information to complete his investigation. Should you talk to him? No.
Any statements you make to the other guy’s insurance carrier may give them the information they need to deny liability for your injury claim. Talk to your attorney first. He’ll tell you what to do.
File your collision claim with your own insurance company
Ask your own insurance company to pay for your auto damages. If you don’t have collision coverage, it’s still important to place your company on notice. Most auto insurers require you to report all accidents. That’s especially important if the other person decides to make a claim against you.
If you have collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for your auto damage, regardless of fault. Then they will subrogate– try to collect the money they paid– from the person who caused the accident. You and your attorney won’t have to deal with the other guy’s insurance company until it’s time to discuss your injury claim.
Follow your doctor’s orders
Your attorney will seek a settlement based on your injuries, the treatment you received, the medicines you took, your time off work, your pain and suffering, and lots of other factors. He will ask your doctor for a written report explaining these things.
If you skip out on your doctor appointments, don’t take your medication, don’t show up for physical therapy, or otherwise don’t do what your doctor tells you to do, the report he gives might not support your claim of a serious injury.
Help your attorney with daily documentation
People who are injured in auto accidents may be entitled to a settlement that includes medical bills, lost wages, money for pain and suffering, inconvenience, disabilities, loss of services to your family, and other things you can’t do because of your injuries. You can help your attorney evaluate your case by documenting all of these things.
Keep track of lost wages and file away a copy of your medical bills as soon as you receive them. Also take the time each day to write a few notes about your pain, physical restrictions, and any other accident-related problems you have. Your notes will come in handy when it’s time to evaluate and present your case.
If you’re injured, be injured
Did you know that when you’re injured in an auto accident, insurance companies sometimes have their investigators watch and record your activities? They do it to make sure that you are as injured as you say you are? They might also talk to your neighbors to see what they know.
It’s a reasonable practice. Some people do fake injuries. But if your injuries are legitimate, you shouldn’t get caught working in the garden, tossing a ball to your son, or doing anything that might make you look as though you’re perfectly healthy. Besides, overexerting yourself could make your injuries worse.
You shouldn’t handle it alone
Things can get pretty complicated after you’re injured in an auto accident. Contact us, and our Indianapolis accident lawyers will answer your questions and help you sort through the issues.