7 Things to Do After a Car Crash
If you've been in a car accident you know it is a traumatic event. After the initial shock wears off, you're confronted with all kinds of issues including: medical bills, car repairs, insurance companies, police reports, and traffic court. You don't know what to do, where to go for help, or who you can trust. There are significant medical, financial, and emotional issues at stake after a car accident. So let's go though what you need to do after your car crash to avoid a costly mistake.
1. Get Medical Treatment
The first thing you need to do after a car accident is get the medical treatment you need. Typically people want to avoid going to doctors or hospitals, so they decide to wait and see how they feel after a couple of days before seeking medical treatment. There are two problems with this wait and see approach. First, by delaying treatment you could make a minor injury worse. Second, the insurance company will take your wait and see approach to mean that you are not injured. Insurance companies typically believe that people that are really hurt get immediate medical attention.
So if you think that you may have been hurt in a car crash, get medical help immediately. Accept treatment at the scene when offered and if you feel that you may be hurt at all, ask to be taken to the emergency room. It may turn out to be nothing, but at least the emergency room doctors can double check for you.
If you're still in pain after you've visited the emergency room, you should follow up with another doctor. Generally, emergency rooms just want to make sure you haven’t broken anything and send you on your way. Serious injuries such as joint and muscle injuries and herniated discs often don’t show up on the emergency room x-rays. If you're experiencing pain you should see a specialist who can do more advanced testing to properly diagnose your injury. Follow up with the doctor recommended by the emergency room or go visit your family or primary care doctor. Don't delay. For your health’s sake, you should get follow up treatment immediately. And again, the insurance company will not look favorably on you claim if you wait to get follow up treatment. If you are seriously injured, the insurance company will expect you to get immediate medical treatment without delay.
2. Start Using eCarCrash's Free Online Claim Program
Our online program is designed to help you get organized and collect all of the information you need to successfully settle your car accident claim. Once you sign up and start to use it, you'll be able to see your claim in focus. Contact eCarCrash.com if you have any questions or need help with your claim.
3. Know your Statute of Limitations
Before you begin dealing with the details of your claim you should figure out what the statute of limitations for your accident is. The statute of limitations is the time in which you must file a lawsuit. Even if you don't plan to file a lawsuit, you have to settle your insurance claim within the statute of limitations or else the insurance company will have no incentive to settle your claim. Statutes of limitations differ from state to state and may be different depending on the type of case as well as the people involved. You can determine the statute of limitations for your case by contacting us.
4. Notify All Insurance Companies
It's always a good idea to promptly notify the insurance company of your car accident. You should notify all insurance companies involved: your insurance company, the at-fault driver's insurance company, and the insurance company of any other driver or vehicle involved. At this point in the matter you don’t need to provide the other driver’s insurance company with any information other than that you were involved in an accident, the general location of the accident, and the date of the accident. It's best to provide this notification in writing. If you’re using eCarCrash’s online claims program all of the notification forms are automatically generated for you. It’s not a good idea to give a statement to the other insurance company. The insurance company wants your statement for one reason: to hurt the value of your claim. Even if you think the accident is clear-cut, the insurance company will get you to say seemingly innocent things that can ultimately hurt the value of your case.
5. Collect Evidence of the Accident
The better the evidence you have, the more successful your claim will be. Start by getting a copy of the police report. Next, take pictures showing damage to any of the vehicles. If you have visible injures have someone take pictures of you to document those injuries. Also take pictures of the scene if you have the opportunity.
6. Finish Your Medical Treatment
You should typically finish all medical treatment before settling your insurance claim. If you expect to have any ongoing treatment, your injury is severe enough that you should contact eCarCrash or find an attorney immediately. When you settle your claim or lawsuit you settle it for good. You can't reopen the case later if some additional medical treatment comes up. You don’t get a second bite at the apple. So if you settle too soon you risk that the settlement won’t include the medical treatment you’ll need in the future. This is why the insurance company will want to settle right away: they don’t want to risk having to pay for any additional medical treatment. So don’t rush the settlement. Take your time and make sure you have fully recovered from all of your injuries before settling your claim, but make sure you settle the claim before the statute of limitations has expired.
7. Settle Your claim
Once you have finished treating and have all your evidence in order, you're ready to start to negotiate your settlement. At this point you should have either contacted us or used our free online program to ensure that your case is ready to be settled. If you haven’t done either of those things, do them now so you don’t risk settling your case prematurely or leaving something out of the settlement that you're entitled to. eCarCrash's online program drafts the appropriate settlement letters to the insurance company. You can send all of the evidence you have gathered along with the letters our system has automatically generated for you. If the insurance adjuster isn't willing to give you the full value for your injuries and losses, contact eCarCrash for help.