– Tip #1 –
Do not admit fault at the scene.
Statements made at the scene can be used as evidence. State laws require you exchange insurance information and cooperate with any police investigation.
– Tip #2 –
File an accident report
State law requires a report be filed if an injury occurs or damage to a vehicle exceeds $500.
– Tip #3 –
Report the accident to your insurance agent
Your insurance company can refuse to protect you if the accident isn’t reported promptly.
– Tip #4 –
Ask your insurance agent about benefits available to you under your own policy
You may have coverage for car repair, rental cars, wage loss or medical bills under your policy. These benefits can be used while you wait to settle your claim with the other driver. Using these benefits will not raise your insurance rates if the accident wasn’t your fault.
– Tip #5 –
Cooperate with your insurance company
They may need to record your version of how the accident happened. They may want to inspect your car and speak with your doctors. Refusing to cooperate with your company may cause you to lose benefits.
– Tip #6 –
Do not, under any circumstances, sign documents for the other driver or their insurance company without seeking legal advice
Valuable rights can be lost and you may even lose benefits under your own policy by signing.
– Tip #7 –
Do not, under any circumstances, give a recorded or written statement to the other driver or their insurance company
Lawyers uniformly advise against letting someone record your voice. No state laws require you to do so. Even if you have nothing to hide these statements can be taken out of context and used against you later.
– Tip #8 –
Promptly seek medical care and follow your doctor’s advice
If you are injured, a failure to seek medical care and follow your doctor’s advice can hurt your claim.
– Tip #9 –
Document your medical bills and any time off work
If you decide to make a claim against the other driver, you will need documentation supporting your losses.
– Tip #10 –
Seek legal advice early
Most lawyers who help injury victims and their families offer a free initial consultation or no cost telephone advice. Early advice can prevent costly complications later. Consider hiring a lawyer to handle the claim. Accident victims with lawyers generally recover two to three times as much as people who try to deal with an insurance company on their own.