Eleven Steps to Take After an Auto Accident

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5. Do Not Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company

The sole purpose of a recorded statement is for an insurance company to obtain evidence from you that it may be able to use against you in the future. Insurance companies train their adjusters to ask any and all questions which may tend to show or prove that the victim was the cause of an auto accident. This is important because auto accident victims who are found to be negligent, no matter how minor, in Maryland and the District of Columbia are barred from being compensated in most circumstances. Further, many accident victims have little or no training regarding the handling of an accident claim. Therefore, at the outset, the victim is usually at a disadvantage and is unprepared to give a recorded statement. I strongly suggest that you retain a personal injury lawyer prior to giving a statement to any insurance company.

6. Exchange Information

After the accident it is highly important for you to exchange the following information with the other driver:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone Number(s)
  4. Insurance Company and Policy Number
  5. Driver's License Number
  6. Make and Model of Vehicle
  7. Vehicle Registration
  8. License Plate Number

Further, if the driver's name differs from the individual who is named on the insurance card and/or car registration then inquire as to the driver's relationship with the insured and/or car owner.

The above information is highly necessary if you wish to proceed with a claim in an effective, and time efficient manner. In the event that you do not obtain this information you and/or your attorney will have to expend time, money and resources attempting to locate it. In the event that you are unable to locate this information then you may be unable to obtain compensation for your injuries.

7. File an Accident Report

The filing of an accident report helps to establish the fact that at an auto accident actually occurred. Further, police officers will often provide key information in their reports, including but not limited to, witnesses, diagrams, insurance information, whether anyone was taken to the hospital from the scene of an accident and the identities and contact information of all the drivers and their passengers. Further, the police officer can thereafter serve as a witness on your behalf should there be a trial. It's my practice to attach favorable accident reports to legal filings, such as Complaints, which I submit to courts. This allows a judge to see a police report which they ordinarily would be barred from reviewing due to the hearsay rule.

8. Keep all Receipts

The law provides that the victim of an auto accident shall be compensated for any and all expenses incurred by the victim due to the accident. Thus, an accident victim can receive compensation for lodging, medicine purchases, gas mileage, medical equipment purchased and a variety of other accident related expenses. However, you will only be compensated for those expenses that you can prove. Thus, it is important for you to hold onto your receipts and forward them to your attorney.

9. Do Not Accept a Final Payment Check

Do not accept a check which is labeled final payment without first consulting a personal injury attorney. The acceptance of such a check, prior to discovering the full extent of your losses and being advised of your legal rights, can result in an auto accident victim receiving substantially less compensation than he or she is entitled to.

10. Scrutinize Initial Appraisals

Do Not automatically agree to a vehicle damage appraisal conducted by the insurance company. Insurance companies may purposefully undervalue your repair estimate or base the repair estimate on the use of replacement, refurbished and/or used auto parts.

11. Do Not Sign a Release Waiver

Do Not sign a release or waiver without first consulting a personal injury lawyer. The signing of a release and/or waiver, prior to discovering the full extent of your losses and being advised of your legal rights, can result in an auto accident victim receiving substantially less compensation than he or she is entitled to.

I encourage all accident victims to retain an experienced, professional and aggressive personal injury attorney. Insurance companies have their attorneys and trained staff working for them. Therefore, in order to be fully knowledgeable regarding your rights and greatly increase your chances of receiving full compensation, I strongly urge you to contact The Whiteru Firm, PLLC at 202 558 6196 or [email protected] to schedule a free consultation. I handle auto accident cases in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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