The average American will be in about four car accidents during their lifetime.
Fortunately, some of these accidents will be nothing more than a fender bender.
A mild annoyance, but your day to day life won't feel a significant impact.
Some accidents, though, have the potential to flip your life upside down.
You could spend time in the hospital which means missed work and medical bills.
The money lost from missed work compounded with the money spent on bills could change your life.
Not to mention how the injuries you received will change your life.
In either case, fender bender or life-changing event, you need to be prepared.
The odds are there that you will be involved in an accident.
It's just a matter of when it will happen
Below are five things you need to do to maximize your recovery after a car accident.
1. Be proactive
Don't cut corners with your insurance. The best thing you can do to make life easier for you after an accident is to buy the best insurance you can afford.
You should always shop around and compare multiple insurance plans and companies.
If you take the first offer you get, you might be missing out on something or paying too much.
Don't be afraid to ask an insurance company if they can match
If you like the insurance company you have, but find a better deal elsewhere, ask your company if they can match.
Auto insurance is a highly competitive industry, and companies are likely to compete for your business if you allow them to.
Compare insurance rates every few years or so to be sure you're getting the best coverage possible.
Some experts recommend switching insurance companies every six months because of the benefits you receive as a new customer.
2. Report and document
Always report your accident. Don't let anyone try to talk you out of reporting the accident to the police.
Failure to report, or even waiting to report the accident will make it harder for you to receive your full compensation.
In some cases, if you leave the accident site without reporting it, there's not much the police can do.
If you don't do your due diligence in reporting the accident, the other driver can even claim you were at fault and hold you responsible for damages.
After you've reported the accident, you need to document everything.
Keep everything accurate, detailed, and organized.
Keep everything, even the things you can't imagine needing again. You never know what will come in handy when a judge is awarding benefits.
Some things you absolutely should document after your accident are:
- Everyone's contact information
- Photos of the crash site
- Pictures of injuries
- All medical records
- Police report
- A journal of your doctor visits
- Any expenses related to your accident
3. Always see a doctor
Sometimes immediately after your accident, you feel fine.
You refuse an ambulance or any medical treatment because you're convinced everything is okay.
Then a few hours or a day or two later, you start walking with a limp, or you develop chronic headaches.
One of the reasons you feel fine after a car accident is because of adrenaline.
Once that adrenaline wears off, you'll start to feel the effects of the accident.
And besides, you're not a doctor. You want to be sure to leave your health in the hands of the experts.
Your best option is to go to the emergency room after the accident for a full physical.
Be sure to get checked for head injuries because these are the hardest to detect.
Even if the emergency room doctor didn't find any injuries, you should still keep an eye out for symptoms of any injuries.
After the emergency room visit, follow up with your regular doctor.
When it comes to your health, you can never be too cautious.
4. Be careful of what you say, and seek legal advice
You need to be extra mindful of what you say and whom you talk to.
If your story of what happens changes at all between your doctor, insurance adjuster, or anyone else changes at all, the damages you're awarded could be affected.
That's what brings me to my next point, seek a lawyer right away.
A good lawyer will explain the situation you're in, and guide you through the process to get it resolved.
They will tell you what you should and shouldn't say, and who you should and shouldn't be talking to.
They will also determine the best course of action for you.
Most people think pursuing insurance is the best way to claim your damages.
That may not be the case. Sometimes a civil claim may be the better option.
One of the first calls you make after an accident should be to an attorney.
There are statutes of limitations in Georgia that limit how much time you have to make a claim.
The longer you wait to make the call, the less evidence there will be, making it harder to for you to get compensated.
5. Be cautious of anyone offering you money
Be especially careful if another driver offers you money immediately following the accident.
You should even be cautious if an insurance company offers you money after the accident.
Accepting money right away can affect your ability to receive compensation in the future.
Often the full cost and extent of damages caused by the accident aren't known for quite some time.
You may need extensive testing done at the hospital to treat your injuries.
Your mechanic may need several days or weeks to diagnose all the damage to your car.
You never want to accept any money or sign any paperwork until you're 100% what your expenses will be.
This is another reason why you should immediately seek legal advice.
A qualified attorney will take you by the hand and make sure you don't accept any money too soon.
Maximize your recovery now
Following this list will help you maximize your recovery after a car accident.
You want to be sure you get the compensation you deserve following your accident.
Getting less than you deserve could mean years of financial hardships for you and your family.
Getting in a car accident is bad enough, you don't need to follow it up with additional stress.
Make sure you can pay your medical bills and repair or replace your car after your accident.
The best way to do that is to get on the phone with an attorney right away.
If you're reading this because you've recently been involved in a car accident, the auto accident lawyers at The Brown Firm can help.
Click the button below to schedule a free consultation before time runs out.