Car accident injuries are often severe, causing significant bodily harm, permanent disability, lost wages, and a lengthy recovery period. Obtaining compensation in automobile liability cases is a complicated, lengthy, and detail-oriented legal process. However, there are some key steps you can take to make sure your right to compensation is protected.
Protecting Yourself at the Scene of the Accident
After a car accident, there are several steps you can take to build your personal injury claim.
- Call law enforcement, even if the other driver urges you to handle the case privately.
- Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and the damage to your vehicle. Get photos from as many different angles as possible.
- Get the names and contact information for any witnesses.
- Write down your recollection of the events leading up to the accident while the memory is still fresh.
- Do not talk to others at the scene. Anything you say, even if you’re just expressing concern for someone who is hurt, can be interpreted as admitting fault.
Seeking Medical Care
Our law office has handled many injury cases, and in doing so, we have learned that there are a number of important "rules" which must be followed when seeking treatment for car accident injuries.
- Seek medical assistance immediately. The most important thing you can do when you are involved in a car accident is to make sure you receive the necessary medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you think your injuries are minor, get checked out as a precaution.
- If you need a specialist, have your regular family physician make the referral. If you try and do this on your own, it will be viewed as doctor shopping and it will hurt your case.
- Don't assume that all specialists are equal. We would like to review the names of medical specialists in your area with you before you make a decision about which special you want to work with for your ongoing medical needs.
- Follow the doctor’s advice. When you do not follow the advice of your doctor, the insurance company assumes that you are healed or are no longer in pain.
- If you can’t work, get a note from your doctor. Make sure the note is faxed or emailed to your employer to protect you from disciplinary action at work. Getting a doctor’s note is also necessary to convince the insurance company of the severity of your injury.
- Obey any restrictions given to you by your doctor. After a car accident, your doctor may recommend that you avoid heavy lifting, bending, twisting, or other vigorous physical activities to give your body time to heal. You need to pay careful attention to follow these restrictions for the sake of your health and your personal injury claim. If you are observed not following these restrictions, the insurance company assumes that you are a fraud. Legally, they can photograph you anywhere outside your home and use trained investigators to follow and film you. If you’re caught ignoring your doctor's orders, your case becomes worthless.
- Take all prescribed medication. If you have a reason for not wanting to use a specific medication, such as trouble with nausea, tell your doctor and work together to find a better alternative. If you stop taking the medication with no explanation, it casts doubt on the seriousness of your injuries
- Don't discontinue or put off medical help due to cost. The at-fault driver’s car insurance company doesn’t need to pay your medical bills until your case is settled, but there are alternatives to handling costs in the meantime. If you have health insurance, move ahead with medical treatment by using your health insurance company. When your case settles, your health insurance carrier can be repaid. Forgoing treatment hurts your health and limits your ability to recover compensation for your car accident injuries.
Obtaining Legal Representation
If you’ve suffered serious injuries in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, it would be a mistake to try to obtain compensation on your own. Car accident victims must confront large insurance providers who have adjusters skilled in the art of negotiations and experienced, skilled attorneys working on their side. Without competent legal representation, you are vulnerable to attack and your right to recovery can be seriously damaged or even lost forever.
Steffens Law can:
- Investigate the incident to establish liability
- Advise you regarding medical treatment
- Monitor your medical records for accuracy
- Communicate with insurance companies on your behalf
- Contact you on a frequent and regular basis for personal status reports
- Negotiate a fair settlement
- Take your case to court, if necessary
It’s understandable to be worried about the cost of legal services when a car accident has already created a financial burden for you and your family, but Steffens Law Office represents car accident victims on a contingency fee basis. This means there is no upfront cost for legal representation. If we are able to obtain a settlement for you, we will be paid a percentage of the recovery from the award. If we can’t obtain a settlement for you, there is no cost for our legal services.
Please call William Steffens or Jeremiah Luebbe at Steffens Law Office, P.C. at (308) 872-8327 or contact us online. We are happy to provide a free, no-obligation case review to help you better understand your legal options.