In recent articles, we have discussed common myths about car accident insurance claims and mistakes you need to avoid when dealing with the insurance companies. We have also provided an overview of the laws that apply to claims for financial compensation. With this information in hand, what should you be doing if you have been seriously injured in a vehicle collision in Alaska? Here are 10 tips from Anchorage car accident lawyer Eric Derleth:
Tip #1: Go to the Hospital
First, and most importantly, you should go to the hospital. There is no substitute for the advice of an experienced doctor, and, in order to recover, you first need to know the nature and extent of your injuries. When you seek medical treatment, explain that you were involved in a car accident, and explain your symptoms in detail. Even if you are not currently experiencing symptoms, you should also tell your doctor if you hit your head, experienced whiplash, or felt anything unusual (such as a “pop” or stretch) during the crash, as these can all potentially cause internal injuries that do not have immediate effects.
Tip #2: Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, you should report the accident to your insurance company. This will start the claims process, and it will ensure that you remain in compliance with your policy. However, when you report the accident, you should only provide the information that is necessary to start the claims process. Do not make any assumptions when speaking with your insurance representative, and do not opine as to who you think was at fault in the collision.
Tip #3: Take Stock of What You Have
Evidence is the key to securing financial compensation, so it is important to take stock of what you have. If you collected the other driver’s insurance information, make sure you keep it in a safe place. The same is true for the contact information for any witnesses, as well as any photos or videos you took with your phone. At this point, you should keep everything you have so that you can share it with your attorney.
Tip #4: Carefully Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
While you are at home recovering from the accident, it is important that you carefully follow your doctor’s advice. This means that you should fill your prescriptions, rest, make arrangements to attend your follow-up appointments, and do whatever else is necessary in order to further your recovery. Not only is this critically important for ensuring that the long-term effects of the accident are no greater than necessary, but it is also essential to protecting your claim for just compensation.
Tip #5: Seek a Second Opinion if You Think One is Necessary
The one caveat to the previous tip is that you should seek a second opinion if you think one is necessary. Unfortunately, medical mistakes are common; and, if you are concerned that your doctor may have failed to properly diagnose your condition or provided inadequate treatment, you should see another doctor promptly.
Tip #6: Create a File for Your Medical and Insurance Records
Following your accident, you will quickly begin to accumulate a mass of medical and insurance records. You should try to keep these organized the best you can, and, at a minimum, you should try to keep them all consolidated in one place. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a file, keep it in your kitchen or office, and make it a habit to put records in the file as soon as you receive them.
Tip #7: Take Notes on a Daily Basis
While your pain and suffering might seem hard to forget, as the days go by, your memory will start to fade. Days will blend together, and you will find it hard to remember the details that are currently fresh in your mind. However, the details can be extremely important to your case; and, the more you can remember, the more you may be able to recover for your losses. With this in mind, it is a good idea to keep a daily journal in which you record noteworthy facts about the impacts of your injuries. This includes information such as:
- Your daily pain levels
- Doctor’s visits
- Days or hours missed from work
- Additional expenses incurred (i.e., cleaning or childcare costs)
- Activities missed due to your injuries
Tip #8: Learn about Your Legal Rights
When seeking financial compensation for losses sustained as the result of a car accident, it is a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of your legal rights. This will help you make informed decisions, and, to the extent that you are dealing with your insurance company directly (which is something that you should generally try to avoid), it will help you avoid potentially costly mistakes. For an overview of your legal rights after being injured in a collision, you can read: What Types of Compensation Can I Recover After an Accident in Alaska?
Tip #9: Focus on Your Physical and Emotional Recovery
While there are many important steps you need to take, ultimately, one of the best things you can do is to focus on your physical and emotional recovery. The recovery process takes time, and you need to devote the time necessary to ensure that your injuries will heal to the fullest extent possible.
Tip #10: Hire an Attorney to Fight for Just Compensation
Finally, you must speak with an attorney as soon as possible. While you focus on getting better, your attorney can focus on recovering the financial compensation you deserve. Dealing with the insurance companies is complicated, and, equally important, this might not be your only source of financial recovery. By hiring an experienced attorney to fight for just compensation on your behalf, you can ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available under Alaska law.
Discuss Your Case with Anchorage & Soldotna Car Accident Attorney
Are you struggling to recover from a severe car accident in Anchorage or Soldotna, AK? To discuss your case with an accident attorney Eric Derleth in confidence, call 907-262-9164 for a free consultation.