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What to Do If You Are Injured in an Auto Accident

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on May 19, 2010

Car accidents are one of the most common sources of personal injury. Some involve only minor injuries while others can result in severe injury, permanent disability and even death. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you will most likely experience pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses and property damage. For all of these you should be compensated financially.

Many people think their personal insurance will cover expenses following a car accident. However, this depends on the policy you have purchased. Most likely, you have coverage that insures both you and your property, as well as coverage that covers other people and their property involved in car accidents where you are at fault. Because there are many different types of coverages, each with its own benefits and limitations, you should always consult with an expert before you sign anything or agree to a settlement.

At the accident

We understand that it is difficult to keep calm after an auto accident, but, if you are able, you should obtain as much of the following information as possible:

  • Driver Information: Exchange information with all drivers, including their names, license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance company names and policy numbers.
  • Photographs: Photos of your injuries, the damage to vehicles involved and the scene of the accident can be a great help in building and documenting your case.
  • Police Report: Get a copy of the accident report if the police responded, as well as the names of the officers.
  • Witnesses: Keep a record of the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of all witnesses.

After the accident

There are three important things you should do immediately after the accident:

  1. Contact your insurance company to report the accident. If you don’t report the accident to the company in a timely manner, it may try to deny you coverage.
  2. File a police report. You should file a police report if you are injured or if damages to either your vehicle or the other party’s exceed $200.
  3. Get follow-up medical care. Be sure you continue to be treated for all your injuries and all medical conditions.

After the accident it is also a good idea to consult with an auto accident and personal injury attorney who can advise you on your possible claims, analyze your coverages and guide you through the next steps. The highly qualified personal injury attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast law firm will provide you with a FREE consultation, at no obligation to you. Simply contact us about your injury or call toll free at 1-888-228-3860.

During the claims process

When you choose a Seattle personal injury attorney, you will need to gather information that will support your claim during the next few months, including:

  • Medical Expenses: Document all office visits, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, laboratory services, physical therapy, hospital visits, treatments, medical documents and x-rays, including the dates, providers, amounts charged and reasons for your visits.
  • Lost Work Time: Keep track of all time taken off from work as a result of the accident, including time off for medical treatments and/or the inability to function properly at work because of your injuries. You may also want to get a letter from your employer verifying pay and lost time.
  • Lost School Time: If you are in school or taking work-related courses, document all lost school time and/or your inability to continue school work as you did before the accident.
  • Photographs: Continue to take photographs of your injuries at different times after the accident. write the date on the back of each photo to verify when it was taken.
  • Emotional Distress and Personal Inconvenience: Keep in mind what you are going through during the process and how the injuries have interfered with your daily life.
  • Car Repair Estimates and Bills: Keep copies of all repair bills and/or estimates, as well as rental car and taxi receipts.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Keep receipts for everything that you’ve paid for out-of-pocket relating to or as a result of injuries suffered in the accident.

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