Nobody is fully prepared for a car crash. We hope this article gives you guidance.
By Jason Hernandez
3 min read
The first thing that you should do after you’ve been in a car accident is get medical care. The idea of a lawsuit should be distant from your mind.
The most important thing is that you take care of yourself. That might involve going to the hospital in an ambulance or it might involve getting checked out by EMTs and first responders with a follow-up appointment with your primary care physician. Getting under the immediate care and attention of a doctor is the first thing that you should do if you’ve been in involved in an accident.
Once that’s taken care of, the next step is to contact an attorney - especially BEFORE you’ve had any contact with an insurance company. It’s not that the insurance company is a bad actor; it’s not that the insurance company isn’t doing its job. The goal of these transactions for insurance companies is to reduce the amount of money that it will pay people for the care that you may need and for any other compensation that the law allows.
An attorney, by contrast, is hired, and their job is to get you as much money as they can. Most are hired based on a contingency agreement that allows the injured person to have an attorney, but not pay any attorney fees unless the case gets a positive outcome. Talking to an attorney before you engage with an insurance company should be your second step after talking to a doctor or getting care from a doctor.
The reason why it’s helpful to have an attorney on your side is not just for the negotiation or the recovery of money with the insurance company, but also for the receipt of medical care. The reason why this is part of the process with both the auto insurance company, if you’ve been injured in an auto accident, and the medical insurance dynamic is making sure that you have money to pay for your treatment while you’re treating before the negotiation for your settlement has even begun. There are many options, including your own health insurance, that an attorney can help you understand each option.
Most insurance policies have a personal injury protection (PIP) or Med Pay component, as it’s called in other states, for the payment of medical care caused by the injury from your accident. There is a resistance often for an insurance company to pay what your doctor is recommending. They will attempt to limit it, say that you’ve recovered, and they won’t pay for additional treatment or there will be treatments they won’t consider necessary for you - therefor, they won’t pay for it.
An attorney can and should help ensure that you get the treatment you need even before there’s any discussion about resolving the claim. To answer the question “what do you do when you’ve been in an accident?” get good quality medical care, and then get an attorney to ensure you continue to get that good quality medical care and that you’re in a position to negotiate for the best recovery from the insurance company that you can.
Do I have a case?
How much should I be offered?
Do I need an attorney?
If these questions have crossed your mind, let us help. You may need a little direction or may not need an attorney at all, but you deserve to be confident knowing your options. Your confidential consultation with us is totally free.