What to Do and Not Do After an Auto Collision
Most people don’t get into an auto collision very often and don’t’ know where to begin or what to do when it happens. What you do early on after your collision can affect the outcome of either a claim for personal injuries or damage to your car. Even that initial call to your own insurance company can turn out to haunt you later in your case. Attorney Kevin L. Hoffkins can guide you through this process so that your interests are protected.
- RENDER AID. At the accident scene, you should ask all parties if they are injured. If anyone says they are injured, then you are obligated under Connecticut Law to render aid, even if its just calling for an ambulance.
- LOOK OUT FOR YOUR OWN INJURIES. After the collision is over, you need to watch out for any pain you may feel in any part of your body or any changes at all. Many people wrongly assume that if you had any injuries then you would feel them immediately at the site of the collision. However, many injuries do not result in pain until hours, days or even months after the auto collision. At the time of an auto collision, your body will get a rush of adrenaline that will mask your pain.
- CALL THE POLICE. You want to make a clear record that the incident occurred. Calling the police to make a report is the best way to do this. The police officer may also render an opinion as to who was at fault for the crash. If you do feel pain at the site of the collision, make sure you tell the investigating police officer to make are clear record. Again, many people don’t feel pain in time to report it at the scene, so don’t’ panic if you didn’t report it.
- DO CALL THE INSURANCE COMPANY. In the next stage of this process, you will have to deal with the insurance companies for both the property damage to your car and for your personal injuries. You should contact your own insurance company first. You are obligated to report the crash within thirty days.
- DO NOT HAVE YOUR STATEMENT RECORDED: Your insurance company may ask you if they can record your conversation, and you should refuse. Any statement you make now that is recorded can be obtained and presented in Court in any future litigation. Even a very innocent mistake now in your statement can be used against your later. You are under no obligation to allow your statement to be recorded, and it’s illegal for them to record you without your permission.
- DO NOT ADMIT RESPONSIBILITY WITH OTHER INSURANCE COMPANY: If you don’t have collision coverage, you will have to negotiate with the insurance company of the person who caused the collision to get your car fixed. This insurance company will negotiate hard to pay you as little money as possible. I often find that they automatically infer that you were at least partially at fault so that they can reduce the amount they have to pay. You do not have to admit fault to any extent.
- GET AN INDEPENDENT APPRAISAL. Get an independent appraisal from a local auto body shop to know how much it will cost. This will give you an idea if they are bargaining in good faith or not, and give you bargaining power to demand that they pay what it really costs to fix your car. You may be without a car for several days while your vehicle is being repaired and you will need a rental car. You can negotiate for this also.
- GET YOUR MEDICAL BILLS PAID. If you were injured, you will wonder who pays your medical bills. Connecticut is an at-fault state, which means you must prove fault before the other person’s insurance company is obligated to pay anything. Of course a court case can take over a year, and your doctors may not be willing to wait to get paid. The insurance company will not pay your medical bills up front. If the insurance company does pay your medical bills, they will want to do so as part of any full settlement including your pain and suffering. You don’t want to take a settlement too early after your injury, for you may discover later that you need more treatment. If you had medical payments as a benefit on your own policy, you must exhaust that benefit first before seeking other insurance coverage. If you were injured while working, then worker’s compensation insurance through your employer is the next insurance coverage to seek out. If you were not working at the time of your collision, then you must have your bills paid by your own medical insurance. If you did not have any medical insurance at all, then you should seek out the help of Attorney Kevin L. Hoffkins who can help you.
- CALL ATTORNEY HOFFKINS FOR HELP. If you feel that you were injured in the collision, you will need the help of an attorney. Attorney Kevin L. Hoffkins has the experience and knowledge of these cases to get you a better settlement than you can do yourself. Insurance companies know that navigating the civil litigation process is a long and arduous process. They know most people will be daunted by the prospect of having to do it themselves. The insurance company knows this and won’t believe that you alone can get a good verdict on your own, so they will give you a low offer. If you have been injured in an auto collision call Attorney Kevin L Hoffkins today to schedule a free appointment.