What should I do after an auto accident?
An accident can happen to anyone at any time, so it is important to remember to stay calm. There are standard steps that you can take after enduring a car accident to protect the validity of your claim. Depending on the accident’s severity, you may have additional steps to your recovery process, like physical therapy or leave from work. After being involved in an accident caused by the actions of a negligent driver, you may be eligible for a settlement.
The attorneys at Olson Law Firm have years of experience representing people like you who have dealt with property damage and injuries at the hands of an irresponsible driver. Our team can guide you through the complex aspects of filing an insurance claim and offer advice or support where it’s needed.
Policyholders who manage the claims process without the help of qualified professionals may be more likely to fall victim to an undervalued claim. Insurers count on policyholders not having much knowledge about settlement negotiations, and they can take advantage of your trust (with the sole aim of preserving profits).
Call (307) 317-4529 or contact us online to speak with a trusted member of the Olson team and get started with representation that can save you time, energy, and money in the long run.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Car Accident?
The outcome of your insurance claim depends on the coverage of both parties, how severe the damage is, and what kind of representation you’ve hired. Speaking to an experienced attorney can paint a clearer picture of your estimated settlement.
Some of the first questions you might have after watching the post-accident expenses rack up are what will I be compensated for? And, of course, will insurance cover this? The short answer is: it depends on the unique details of your accident.
In a car accident insurance claim settlement, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are considered to be objectively verifiable losses, meaning that there is a standard price for whatever was damaged or lost. Non-economic damages do not have an obvious dollar value. This type of damage typically has some relation to accident-related trauma, such as the pain inflicted or the mental anguish caused.
Some examples of economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Damaged or replaced property
- Reimbursement for working time lost
Non-economic damages are more complex and are less likely to have a standardized price attached. These include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional distress
- Loss of functioning ability
Common Car Accident Injuries
After a serious accident, you may notice body aches and pains that develop in the coming days, on top of whatever injuries you sustained from the impact. It is common for those involved in serious accidents not to feel any pain for hours following the impact, meaning they cannot identify their own injuries. This risk is why it is always recommended to seek medical attention immediately.
Minor car accidents typically result in less serious bodily harm, but it is possible to sustain painful injuries after a minor crash. Depending on the severity of the injuries, recovery journeys like physical therapy may be beneficial for the healing process.
You may experience a wide range of injuries after a serious car accident, but some of the most common include:
- Back and spine injuries
- Fractures or broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
In a minor car accident, you may experience a combination of the following commonly experienced injuries:
- Pulled/strained muscles and ligaments
Take These Steps After a Car Accident
The expenses that follow a car accident can be significant, with the NHTSA reporting that traffic collisions cost roughly $871 billion dollars every year. These high costs of a crash mean that following the appropriate steps is crucial for settlement recovery.
Regardless of how severe your accident was, the needed steps to follow are typically universal. When attempting to recover a fair settlement, it is essential that you act diligently while gathering information and complete all necessary steps to prove your claim.
During the process, you can work with an experienced car accident attorney who can make the ins and outs of litigation easier to manage. Your car accident injury lawyer will also provide beneficial advice while representing you and your best interests throughout the claims process.
In a typical claim, insurers will often do everything they can to make the process more difficult to obtain the compensation needed. The NAIC reports that over 41% of insurance complaints relating to unsatisfactory experiences were with the auto and health insurance sectors.
Instead of battling your insurer, let us take the burden off of your shoulders. We promise to fight for every penny you deserve.
After your accident, be sure to take the following steps.
Exchange Insurance Information
After a minor car collision, you should swiftly exchange insurance information with the other party. Do not discuss the accident or speculate on who was at fault.
The way you file a claim depends on the state you live in. In Wyoming, an at-fault state, you can file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance and avoid tapping into your own coverage altogether.
You will also need to report the accident to your own insurer. In the event the negligent party refuses to offer their insurance information, your insurance company may decide to provide you with aid.
In a more serious accident, a first responder will likely collect information for you at this step while you are escorted via emergency medical transport.
Get Medical Attention
Sometimes, a person involved in a car accident will not feel the true effects of their injuries until hours (or even days) after the initial impact. This risk means that you could be missing a serious injury, like a broken rib or spinal trauma, if you hesitate to see a doctor.
While you may not need a medical inspection for a minor fender-bender, if a first responder arrives on the scene and recommends visiting a nearby Urgent Care or hospital, you should take their advice. Without a valid medical exam that documents the extent of your injuries, there is less of a chance you’ll recover a reasonable settlement for said injuries.
At the scene of the accident, you may notice people gathering to observe the aftermath. If you are physically able to, it would be beneficial to encourage bystanders to stick around and give their eyewitness accounts to the police. You could also ask witnesses for their contact information and a recorded statement. Relay this info to local law enforcement to help aid their efforts to gather more statements. Witnesses can be a valuable ally to your case, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask if anyone saw anything.
Remember to Take Photos of the Scene
Photographs act as valuable evidence and are often crucial for understanding fine details about what happened. Images are the only way to depict the scene of the accident long after it has been cleaned up. Aim to take as many photos (or even videos) as possible, including every angle of the damage and debris that flew into the surrounding area.
You should also take pictures of damaged property, like items in the car during the accident that sustained some disfiguration. Be sure to also document any bruises, cuts, or other visible injuries. When the insurance representative is solidifying the details of the accident, a surplus of photographs can play to your advantage. Good photographs help to prove your story, which can ultimately result in a more favorable settlement.
Do Not Take Help Offered By Solicitors at the Scene of the Accident
There is a chance that you will encounter solicitors at the scene of your accident. Typically, these are professionals with varying degrees of credibility and dependability, so it is generally advised to stay away from this attempt to gain clients in a vulnerable environment.
Not only is this strategy frowned upon, but it is also illegal. This form of solicitation, which is often referred to as “ambulance chasing”, is technically illegal in the United States. Some states are stricter than others when it comes to enforcing these anti-solicitation laws; — but, regardless of punishment, you should avoid working with any professional who overlooks the rules for convenience and profit.
Talk to an Experienced Attorney
Working with an attorney can not only help benefit the result of your claim but also offer resources and aid that make the entire journey easier to manage.
When you retain representation for your car accident claim, you can rest assured that you have qualified and experienced professionals on your side, acting as knowledgeable sets of eyes and ears throughout the duration of your claim process.
The team at Olson Law Firm is dedicated to providing exceptional service to the people of your community, and our reputation speaks for itself! We’ve been in business for years, serving people just like you who were affected by the actions of an irresponsible driver.
Filing Your Insurance Claim
The actual claims process can look different depending on your unique situation, but there are some general scenarios you can find yourself in.
If you live in an at-fault state, you are allowed to file a claim against the negligent driver with their insurance company, but there are 12 no-fault states that require all drivers to file insurance claims with their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurer. Wyoming and Colorado are both at-fault states.
What happens if you have a car loan? How about if the at-fault driver is underinsured?
If you have a car loan where the balance remaining is higher than the value of the vehicle, you may be covered by gap insurance in your own insurance policy, which will help cover the difference.
As far as dealing with an underinsured driver, you have a few options:; you can choose to use your personal insurance for additional aid, sue the negligent party, or file a negligence claim against them.
What Can a Car Accident Injury Lawyer Do?
When you work alone, the only one benefitting is your insurer. Without much knowledge or experience with the claims process, a policyholder may walk away with less than they should from their settlement.
An attorney can be a valuable resource, always advocating for your best interest. The experience and in-depth knowledge that an attorney can offer are undoubtedly advantageous — but what exactly can representation do for you?
When you reach out to the Olson Law Firm, know that we can help you:
- File documents: The process of reviewing and filing documents can be tedious and prone to errors, so don’t force yourself to do it! An attorney is experienced in processing forms in an efficient way and can take that burden off of your shoulders. This service alone can free up hours, or even days in your schedule, but we won’t stop there!
- Investigate your claim: If you have already filed, attorney Sean Olson and his team will review the details of your claim and help you understand exactly what kind of damages we can fight to recover. You may be paid for a variety of economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, personal property repair or replacement, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and missed work.
- Help you understand processes and regulations around car accident claims: Our team of professionals is well-versed in the laws and regulations regarding car accident claims, and we can make these details easier for you to understand. Sometimes, insurance lingo can get complex, and there are unseen details about the claims procedure hiding everywhere. We’ll do our best to make sure that you are prepared for every step, enabling you to feel confident as you walk through the journey of recovery.
- Negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf: Negotiating a proper settlement can be one of the most difficult aspects of your claim process because it can be complicated to present evidence that backs the number you need. We’ve practically seen it all, so we understand how to adjust a settlement request based on the evidence provided from the details of the accident.
Recently Involved in a Car Accident? Olson Law Firm Can Help
If you have damaged property or have endured injuries because of the actions of a negligent driver, you can fight to be rightfully compensated.
Our team at Olson Law Firm has years of experience representing people in your shoes, people who need an advocate on their side to represent them and their best interests. Our loyalty is to our community, and our objective is to ensure that the victims of negligent drivers can get back to normalcy as swiftly as possible.
Call (307) 317-4529 or contact us online to get started today. Our team is eagerly standing by to help you!