Medical Treatment Claims After a Car Accident
If you've been injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you may be eligible for compensation from the at-fault driver or his insurance company. To get that settlement, however, your injuries must be documented. Documentation begins at the accident scene.
If you are able, get pictures of any visible injuries; if you don't have a digital camera handy, cell phones take adequate photos. Also, get pictures of damage to all the vehicles involved and the scene itself. If your injuries do not allow you to take pictures, ask someone to take them for you.
If an ambulance responds to the accident scene, be sure to get checked out by emergency medical personnel, even if you think you aren't hurt. If your injuries aren't visible, tell them if any body parts slammed into your car on impact, where you hurt and if you have a headache. The ambulance crew will document your comments, which is an early step in creating a paper trail of your injuries.
If you don't hitch a ride to the hospital with the ambulance, seek medical care as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the liability insurance company will claim your injuries aren't that bad; if they were, you would have received immediate medical care.
Bruises will start showing in a day or two. Be sure to get pictures as soon as you notice them and every couple of days until they disappear. Be sure to date when the photos were taken.
If any bones were broken or you required stitches, get pictures of you wearing the cast and the surgical scars at various stages in the healing process. Be sure to do everything your medical providers prescribe. Do not miss any medical appointments; liability insurance companies love this when you do, as it usually decreases the amount of the settlement award they must pay. Again, this is a case of “if you were really hurting, you'd keep the appointments.”
Keep a list of activities, such as work, household chores, or hobbies that you cannot do because of your injuries.
Soon after the accident, you may want to consult with an Austin traffic accident attorney to discuss your injury claim. This free consultation should usually take place before you've talked to the liability insurance company. A personal injury attorney can assist you with your claim, by handling all contact with the liability insurance company, putting together that claim and finally negotiating a settlement for the claim.
It is possible to handle the claim yourself, but if you don't know what you're doing, you could inadvertently do something that could cost you in settlement dollars. A personal injury attorney can protect your rights and make sure you get the best settlement possible.