Steps to Take after a Traffic Accident
Over the course of a person's life, statistics suggest that an individual will get into three to four traffic accidents. Considering that teens usually have a higher likelihood of accidents, it is not surprising when at least one of these accidents occurs early in life. Yet, despite the common nature of traffic accidents, many people do not know how to react when involved. Fortunately, there are several simple steps a person can take after a traffic accident.
Traffic accidents, especially severe ones, can be chaotic and disorienting. It should go without saying that the most important thing to do following an accident is to make sure that the people involved in the accident receive appropriate emergency medical care. Once medical care is addressed, to the extent possible, the victim and/or his family should take whatever efforts they can to preserve as much evidence as possible. Videos and photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved in the accident can be very helpful if a personal injury claim is later made. It is also helpful to try and secure the names and addresses of potential witnesses to the accident.
The victim should immediately report the accident to his or her own insurance carrier. Although generally speaking, an insured has an obligation to cooperate with his or her own insurance carrier, this same obligation does not extend to the at-fault party's insurance carrier. If a victim is contacted by the at-fault party's insurance company and is asked to give a written or recorded statement, the victim does not need to agree to this. Further, the victim should not feel forced into signing medical and employment authorizations for the benefit of the at-fault insurance carrier.
Pending a decision by the victim to retain an attorney, the victim should carefully document each and every item of damage sustained as a result of the accident. If possible, the victim should use his or her own health insurance or medical payments insurance to help with accident-related medical bills before pursuing the insurance carrier for the at-fault party.
Following an accident, a victim should not feel pressured or rushed into settling his or her case. Although statutes of limitation and other time-limits may apply, many victims settle their cases too quickly, before the full extent of their injuries are really known. Another mistake a victim should avoid is signing a release unless the contents and terms of the release are fully understood.
Seek Legal Guidance
If you were recently involved in a traffic accident, and are unsure what steps to take next, please reach out to a Green Bay car accident attorney or Appleton car accident attorney today. Our firm has four convenient office locations in Appleton, Oshkosh, New London and Green Bay. We are here to help you exercise your rights after an accident.