The first week after a car accident is a critical time. Depending on the mechanics of the accident and the intricacies of your body, your condition could range from feeling so bad you can’t move to not feeling any pain yet at all. The first week following the accident can set the stage for the rest of your case. It is important to be mindful that what you say and do will affect your rights later on. By following a few simple rules, you can ensure that your health and your case won’t be needlessly compromised:
- GO TO THE DOCTOR
Many people wait far too long to go to the doctor. If you are feeling sore, out-of-it, abnormally tired, or “off” at all, don’t put off going to the doctor for even a moment. Take an ambulance from the scene of the accident to the emergency room. A brain or spinal injury can be devastating, and by putting off going to the doctor, you could be wasting moments critical to an smoother recovery. Many people worry about the cost of an ambulance. If an ambulance ride means a brain bleed is detected five hours sooner, it’s well worth the potential expense.
In fact, even if you are not experiencing acute symptoms after the accident, it is still probably best to at least go to your local urgent care. There a medical doctor will examine you, probably perform x-rays, and probably prescribe NSAIDs and muscle relaxers. If the x-rays and doctor’s exam don’t reveal any urgent issues, you’ll likely leave with a recommendation to follow up with your primary care physician.
- FILE A POLICE REPORT
Unless you need to leave via ambulance, wait on scene until law enforcement arrives. When you’re asked, tell the officers what happened in a calm manner. The questions that are asked on the scene of an accident can be frustrating. Don’t let yourself get frazzled. Remain calm, let ice flow through your veins, and get your version of the facts out there.
- NO RECORDED STATEMENTS
The defendant’s insurance company is going to press you for a recorded statement. They’ll catch you really early on, before you have the opportunity to speak with a lawyer. They will tell you that your participation is very important. In reality, it is important that you do not give the defendant’s insurance company a recorded statement.
While I am sure you are an honest person, the insurance company will make you look like a liar later on with your recorded statement. In the recorded statement, the insurance company will ask questions that are designed to elicit responses that minimize the accident and your injuries, and call your liability into question. Then, after you have had time to appreciate the full effect of the accident on your health and your finances, they will throw the answers you gave in the first week after the accident in your face.
As an aside, YOUR insurance is likely entitled to a recorded statement, so make sure to only refuse the defense insurance requests. If your insurance asks, you probably will need to reschedule a different time to do it. During that time, it would probably be best to speak to a lawyer before your next move. Cefali & Cefali would be happy to do one of our famous free consultations!
- NO MEDICAL AUTHORIZATIONS
Do not provide the defense insurance company with medical authorizations. They will tell you that it’s the only way for them to evaluate your case. Don’t buy it. At Cefali & Cefali, we obtain all of our clients’ medical records and bills, and redact any private information regarding their health insurance or other personal information not relevant to the claim. This protects the value of the claim, and puts the car insurance company on their heels.
- DON’T TALK ABOUT YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE
The defense is always eager to know about your health insurance information. Don’t share it. The only reason they want to know is health insurance companies get deep discounts on hospital and other medical bills. By telling the car insurance company you have health insurance, you let them in on a valuable piece of information that they are not entitled to before a lawsuit is filed. At Cefali & Cefali, we keep all of our clients’ personal information confidential, and this is true of their health insurance information too.
- DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT THE CAR
Your instinct is going to be to move too fast to get your car fixed. In this initial, rushed exchange between you and the defense insurance, it is easy to let out too much information. If there was a police report taken, there is absolutely no point in speaking with anyone at the defense insurance company until you have the police report in your hand. It sucks your car will be out of commission temporarily, but that will pass. It’s important you don’t get fooled into doing a recorded statement with the false hope that your car is going to get fixed faster if you do.
If you were involved in an accident, or have a friend or family member who was, make sure to speak with a personal injury attorney about the case. At Cefali & Cefali, we have our famous free consultations. We would be happy to go over what happened with you and at least arm you with information about what things will look like moving forward. Give Cefali & Cefali a call today.