Being involved in an automobile accident can have a serious impact on your life. The accident may be your fault or the fault of the driver of the other auto, either way if you have been injured the results will be the same. In a perfect world, the insurance company would treat you with respect and concern and provide you with whatever is necessary to get you back on your feet. Well, that's in a perfect world. In this world, being treated with respect and concern by insurance companies are a rarity. The last thing these companies want is for you to hire a lawyer because they know an attorney will have more knowledge about the process than the average person. With auto accidents injuries, their goal is to get you as little as possible, usually before it can be determined if you have long term injuries resulting from the accident. A skilled Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process and help you determine what your future needs will be resulting from an injury accident.
You've been involved in an accident and you have been injured. Now what? You are probably confused as to what happens next and you need advise... here's an easy-to-follow guide for automobile accidents in Oklahoma to help answer some of those questions and assist you in getting through this difficult time.
Seek immediate medical attention.
Your failure to seek immediate medical attention after and auto accident will be used against you by the insurance companies and their lawyers, who will argue that you would have sought medical treatment immediately after the accident if you had been seriously injured.
Report the accident to the DMV or your insurance company.
Take photographs of your injuries, the damage to the vehicle and the scene of the accident.
Good pictures of your injuries after an automobile accident can make a huge difference in the outcome of your personal injury case and greatly assist your attorney with your case. Take at least one roll of photos following the accident and develop them immediately to ensure you get at least a few good photos of your injuries, damages to the vehicles, and the accident scene.
Don’t discuss the accident with the other driver, their attorney or any insurance company – even your own. Also, never give a written or recorded statement, unless it is under the advice of your attorney.
Anything you say from the time of the auto accident until your case is resolved can be used against you in court. Additionally, any statement you give to opposing attorneys and insurance companies will be used by them to hurt – not help – your case. Further, in uninsured and underinsured motorist cases, your own insurance company will act as if they are the insurance company of the uninsured or underinsured driver of the other automobile. For this reason, you have to be careful not to share information about your injuries or the events of the accident with them as well. It is in your best interest to consult your attorney before speaking to any opposing attorney or insurance company representation – even your own. Please note, however, that by law you must exchange driver and insurance information.
Have a police report prepared and obtain a copy of the report.
If the police do not come to the scene of the auto accident, then you need to visit the nearest police station and fill out an automobile accident report. Make sure you list all of your injuries and any statements of fault made by the other driver.
Keep a record of the names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses to the accident.
The police do not always include all witnesses in the accident report. Many cases have been won – and many lost – by not having a witness to support your version of the accident.
Keep a log of the time you take off from work as a result of the accident.
You or your attorney can use this log to support your claim for lost wages, and as an exhibit in court to prove your wage loss or settle your case.
Keep a log of the names, dates of service, and reason for seeing all medical professionals since the time of the accident.
You or your lawyer can use this log to prepare a medical history relative to your accident, and to obtain the necessary records for advancing the settlement or trial of your personal injury claim.
Keep a log and receipts for your out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident.
You are entitled to reimbursement of all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the auto accident. These can include rental cars, clothing, medical expenses, non-prescription medication, and other expenses not covered by your insurance policy.
Follow through with all necessary medical care promptly and diligently.
If you don’t obtain the medical care you need, the insurance companies and their lawyers will argue that you are not really injured as badly as you are claiming. Obtain all necessary medical care in a timely manner, and don’t give them that opportunity.
Avoid signing any documents or releases of information unless you are advised to do so by your attorney.
The insurance companies and their lawyers will use all available means to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you. They will try to obtain your medical records, and other records, by telling you that they need them to evaluate your claim. In reality, they will use the information they obtain to discredit your claims. Consult your attorney if you are asked to provide any records regarding the accident, even to your own insurance company.
Review your insurance coverage to see if you have Medical Payments Coverage and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. If you do not have these types of coverage, add them to your policy for the future.
Medical Payments Coverage can be used to cover your medical expenses resulting from an accident. Unlike HMOs and PPOs that limit your medical care decisions, Medical Payments Coverage allows you to choose the doctors and the treatment you receive, so long as it is reasonable. With Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, if the driver that hit you is not covered by insurance or lacks sufficient coverage to compensate you for all of your damages, your own insurance company will step in and compensate you for your damages as if they were the insurance company of the other driver.
Do not settle your case until all present and future medical expenses are known.
You are entitled to be compensated for all past medical expenses as well as all future medical expenses that you are reasonably certain to incur. An experienced auto accident injury attorney can help you to determine what amounts you are entitled to receive.
Keep copies of everything.
You must be able to prove all elements of your case, and this requires appropriate documentary support. Don’t try to guess what you should keep, because you never know what supporting information you will need later in your claim. Keep records of everything, including the automobile accident report, witness information, medical bills, lost wages and medical history logs, and anything else that might support your case. If you don’t think you need it, check with your attorney before tossing any piece of evidence.
See an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
The best way to find out your rights is to see an experienced Oklahoma personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your automobile accident. An experienced attorney can help you develop the necessary proof for your case and deal with any potential problems. Do not withhold any information from your attorney. Everything you say to your attorney is protected and confidential. The insurance companies and their lawyers deal with personal injury claims on a daily basis. The only way you can even the playing field is to have a skilled Oklahoma attorney on your side as well. For a free consultation regarding your case contact us at our Tulsa office now via email or call 918-587-8700.