Serious automobile accident injuries are costly. At the absolute least, accident victims incur medical expenses for an ambulance travel and an emergency room visit. Many patients must remain in the hospital for days or weeks. Others may require X-rays, pain medication, surgery, postoperative care, and subsequent medical visits.
Every year, automobile accidents cost the state millions of dollars. In recent years, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) estimates that more than 120,000 traffic accidents occur annually on the state’s roads and highways. Sadly, these statistics include thousands of fatalities and injuries.
Pennsylvania law enables victims to monetary compensation when an accident is caused by another person. Damage awards and settlements might vary substantially. The severity of a victim’s injuries, which frequently affects the financial result of a vehicle accident claim, is one issue over which the victim has no control.
Nevertheless, the decisions auto accident victims make in the minutes, days, and weeks following a collision can affect the value of their claims. This resource offers advice on accident victims’ controllable aspects that influence the value of their vehicle accident claim. In certain situations, the severity of a victim’s injuries may prohibit them from performing the procedures outlined below, however friends and relatives can still provide assistance.
Here is how to maximise your compensation after a vehicle accident.
Continue to Remain at the Accident Scene
Pennsylvania drivers are required to stop at the scene of any collision in which they are involved and to call the police if injuries or fatalities occurred or if the accident rendered a vehicle undriveable. Drivers must also offer other motorists and responding police officers with basic contact and registration information. Local authorities must receive a Driver’s Accident Report within five days for any other “minor” incidents.
Instead of attempting to ascertain the sort of accident you were involved in, you should dial 911 and summon authorities to the site of any Pennsylvania vehicle accident. Do not leave until they come, complete their regular investigation, and give you permission to do so.
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to leave an accident site without providing information to police or to leave without stopping.
Collect Information on-Site
You are permitted to collect information independently at the accident site if you can do so safely and without interfering with first responders. Obtain the contact details of other drivers and passengers involved in the collision. This will aid in preventing any potential errors on the official accident report. Additionally, take images or videos of the accident area from every feasible vantage point using your cell phone to produce an accurate record of the situation.
If a hit-and-run occurs and you fail to obtain the perpetrator’s details, the only compensation you may receive for the accident and your injuries may come from your own medical benefits policy and uninsured motorist coverage. As soon as it is safe to do so, record names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, insurance information, and vehicle information.
A word of caution, however: when gathering information, do not discuss culpability for the accident with others or acknowledge to having contributed to its occurrence. Even benign words might be used to diminish the value of a possible legal claim in the future.
Request Witness Information
Do not restrict the information you collect at the scene of the accident to the persons immediately involved. Additionally, witnesses to the accident may have pertinent information to contribute. Collect their contact information, if feasible, so that you (or your attorney) may follow up with them on their memories. Additionally, search for “video” witnesses, such as traffic or security cameras that may have recorded the collision on film, and take measures to identify the camera operators. You may have a limited amount of time to save any video footage of the collision before it is erased, so if feasible, you should act immediately.
Obtain Medical Care
If you are involved in a severe vehicle accident, you will likely be transported by ambulance to the nearest emergency facility to obtain medical care beyond that provided by paramedics. In less serious incidents, or if you are fortunate enough to remain aware and walk away, you may want to forego medical care. This is nearly usually an error.
To maximise your compensation for a vehicle accident, you must demonstrate that the collision caused your injuries. Medical records of your injuries give this evidence. You may be tempted to delay seeing a doctor if you are only mildly hurting or have a few minor bumps and bruises. However, many frequent, life-threatening vehicle accident injuries do not manifest until hours or days after the event. Allow a doctor to evaluate you immediately for these sorts of injuries to safeguard your health and legal rights.
Notify Your Insurance Provider of the Incident.
Even if you were not at fault for the collision, you will likely be required to disclose it to your auto insurance provider, if only to record the damage to your vehicle and your injuries. The majority of insurance plans require you to file such a report; failing to do so may result in the termination of your policy or other legal consequences.
When reporting your insurance, it is always preferable to be truthful. However, keep in mind that even your own insurance company will attempt to avoid paying you benefits. Be careful while discussing the accident details with insurance adjusters. Do not make casual remarks on who was at blame or how you feel. Leave the topic of “blame” to your attorney’s conversations with your (or any other party’s) insurer.
Keep Your Entire Bills
To receive proper compensation for the financial costs associated with your automobile accident and injuries, you must produce supporting documentation for your claim. The more evidence you submit, the greater the possibility that you will receive all of the compensation you deserve.
Keep any medical bills and insurance paperwork relevant to your care from the time of the accident forwards. This includes documentation of ambulance and emergency services, physician visits, hospitalisation, diagnostic tests, medication, and treatment. All of the expenses represented in these records may comprise aspects of the compensation due to you by the person at fault in an automobile accident.
In addition, if a vehicle accident prohibits you from working temporarily or permanently, you should keep any payroll records that detail your paycheck or salary and any paid time off you took as a result of the accident. These expenses are also possible elements of damages owed to you.
Finally, maintain record of any additional expenditures directly related to your accident and injuries. For instance, some auto accident injuries result in limitations that necessitate home or workplace adaptations, such as building railings and wheelchair ramps. Other injuries may render you unable of doing everyday tasks, necessitating the hiring of a service provider. These charges may also represent compensable damages.
Document Your Injuries and Recuperation
A significant portion of the ambiguity around the amount of compensation you may obtain for an automobile accident stems from the inability to place a monetary value on the harm you have suffered. You are entitled to monetary compensation for your pain and suffering, damage to your personal relationships, and emotional anguish caused by permanent impairments such as disfiguring scars and physical limitations.
Sometimes, attorneys and insurance adjusters employ mathematical formulae to attempt to quantify these damages, but the process may be very subjective. To assist them in assessing the amount you should get for these “non-economic” losses, describe your injuries and recuperation in a diary. Record your emotional and physical sensations. This document can help you express your non-economic damages and improve the compensation you may obtain for your auto accident claim.
Continue Visiting Your Doctor
Occasionally, individuals forego doctor checkups for completely reasonable reasons. We understand. However, insurance companies and defence counsel will be less tolerant. They will exploit the fact that you missed medical visits as proof that you are not as severely hurt as you claim or that the accident did not cause your injuries.
As discussed previously, your medical record is one of the most important pieces of evidence you will need to support a claim for damages following a vehicle accident. To maximise the value of your claim, you must demonstrate that you followed your doctor’s treatment plan to the letter. Keep and attend every doctor appointment, lab visit, and treatment session until you receive a clean bill of health from your physician. Doing so will generate the consistent record of your injuries and rehabilitation required to maximise the reimbursement you should get following an auto accident.
Never Accept a Settlement Offer Before Consulting Your Attorney
On occasion, we find a heartbreaking circumstance at The Levin Firm in which a car accident victim with a compelling claim for damages has already accepted a settlement offer from the party at responsibility, an insurance company, or a defence counsel. Why tragedy? Because automobile accident victims who accept settlement offers without first consulting an attorney almost invariably leave a substantial amount of money on the table and surrender crucial legal rights.
Never, ever accept a settlement offer from a party that may be legally liable to you without first consulting your attorney. These parties desire to escape the obligation for the least amount of money feasible. IF THEY OFFER YOU A PAYMENT AND SAY THINGS LIKE “NO NEED FOR ATTORNEYS,” REFUSE THE OFFER. This is a clear indication that they believe they owe you much more money than they are providing, and they hope you would waive your right to suit in return for pennies on the dollar.
We comprehend the severe financial pressure that some auto accident victims feel to “accept the money” However, it is always a mistake to accept a settlement and waive your rights without first ensuring that the person proposing to pay you with a check is not attempting to take advantage of you. An competent auto accident attorney can assist safeguard you from such unethical behaviour.
You may also need to wreck your vehicle, you can use car removal services Sydney.
Do Not Inform Others of Your Accident
When insurance companies and defence attorneys investigate an automobile accident, they typically seek to talk with the victim and the victim’s loved ones. As a victim, you should never talk with investigators before consulting with your lawyer. You should also avoid speaking with other individuals whom investigators may pursue.
Nobody wants to put their friends and relatives in the unpleasant position of telling an investigator about anything they heard you say that diminishes the worth of your claim. As much as you may want to tell your loved ones about your vehicle accident, the best thing you can do to protect yourself and them, and to maximise your compensation, is to remain silent. Unless and until your attorney instructs you otherwise, you should not discuss the accident with them.
Avoid posting on social media
Representatives and detectives of the insurance company will search the Internet for whatever information they can uncover about you in the hopes that something you have written or posted will give them a cause to reduce the value of your claim. Therefore, refrain from using social media for the time being. If you must post something, consult an attorney beforehand.
Employ a Skilled Automobile Accident Lawyer
For all of the aforementioned reasons, competent personal injury attorneys play a crucial role in maximising compensation for auto accident victims. Contact an attorney immediately to maximise your auto accident claim.