Important Steps to Take
After Your Accident
Jan. 22, 2022
You didn’t think it would happen to you, but it did. You were in an accident, even though you didn’t expect it. So—what happens next? There are several steps you should take after an accident to take care of your health and protect your finances.
One of those steps is hiring an experienced attorney who can guide you through the personal injury process. I have represented clients in personal injury, family law, and criminal defense for the past 20 years, gaining valuable knowledge of the Oklahoma legal system. My firm, Wilson Law Firm PLLC, is proud to serve clients in Shawnee, Chandler, Norman, Okemah, Ada, and anywhere else in Oklahoma.
Steps to Take After an Accident
No matter what kind of accident you were in, there are certain important steps you should take to protect yourself. If you don’t know exactly what to do after an accident, you’re not alone. These five steps will help.
Get to Safety & Receive Medical Care
The first thing you should do is make sure that you (and others) are safe from further immediate danger. Then, you need to seek medical attention.
You may think that your injuries aren’t serious enough to warrant seeing a healthcare professional, but this is a necessity, no matter how small your injuries are. There are two reasons why you should seek medical attention right away:
First, a healthcare professional can identify symptoms that you cannot. Sometimes, it takes days or even weeks for symptoms to appear. A medical professional can give you the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Second, if you do not seek medical treatment, an insurance company can use that fact against you. Oklahoma is an “at-fault” state, which means that whoever was responsible for the accident must pay for the medical bills and property damage, usually through their insurance company. If you do not seek medical attention, an insurance company may deny your claim. A medical record of the accident gives you important documentation you need to help your case.
Call the Police
You should call the police and inform them about the accident as soon as possible. Once the officer arrives at the scene, make sure you write down their name, badge number, and contact information. A police report of the accident can help your case.
After you contact the police, exchange information with the other people involved in the accident. Collect the other driver’s contact information, write down all the details you can about their vehicle, and make sure to give the other driver your contact information. Collect contact information from witnesses who saw what happened. Take pictures of the scene of the accident.
Your next step is to call your insurance company and notify them of what happened. Contact them as soon as possible, as some insurance companies require that they be notified in as few as two days after the accident. They may handle communication with the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf, or it may be your responsibility. Notify your insurance company of the accident immediately.
Hire an Attorney
The insurance claim process can be confusing and time-consuming. If the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t cooperate, then it can be legally complicated as well. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of filing an insurance claim and taking further legal action if you are not offered the compensation your case deserves.
Watch Out for These Potential Pitfalls
Be aware of these potential pitfalls that might make it more difficult for you to collect compensation for the accident:
If the other driver does not have insurance, it may be difficult to collect compensation. Your insurance policy might or might not cover your expenses if you were in an accident with an uninsured driver. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you plan the best route to take in this situation.
You know that you will have medical bills after a car accident, but those aren’t the only costs you should prepare for. You may also have to pay for expensive vehicle repairs and other property damage costs. Additionally, if you miss time at work because you are dealing with the accident, you will lose income as well. These extra costs need to be factored into your insurance claim.
Ensure Medical Costs are Final
You may have more than one medical bill for your treatment after a car wreck or any other kind of accident. Before you accept a settlement offer, wait and make sure you know your total medical costs.
Low First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies try to protect their bottom line, which means they may initially offer you a low settlement, hoping you’ll take it right away. Be patient. Remember that you need a settlement that will cover all of your expenses related to the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can look at the facts of your accident, let you know whether the settlement offer you received is low, and inform you of your next steps.
Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind that there is a deadline for filing an Oklahoma personal injury claim and that deadline is two years after the date of the accident. Once two years have passed, you will no longer be able to file a personal injury claim in Oklahoma.
How Wilson Law Firm Can Help
Medical bills and vehicle repairs can add up quickly. Hold the driver who caused the accident financially responsible for their actions. I am passionate about fighting for your rights and advocating for your best interests, and my firm will provide you with up-to-date information on where your case stands. Wilson Law Firm PLLC is proud to represent clients in Shawnee, Chandler, Norman, Okemah, and Ada, Oklahoma. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.