Have you just been in a serious car accident? You may be wondering what you need to do next. You’ve heard that insurance companies will try to pay you less than you deserve or deny your claim altogether.
It’s true that the Insurance companies are bullies. After you get into an accident, the insurance company may abuse the situation by trying to convince you to settle your claim quickly and cheaply.
Here is everything you need to know to secure your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve after a car crash in Iowa:
Seek Medical Attention For Your Serious Injuries
If you’ve been in an accident and have any sort of aches or pain in the following hours or days, get medical attention as soon as you can. In order to get compensation for your injuries and future medical costs, you need to treat your injuries. Insurance companies and juries won’t just take your word that you were injured in the crash. They’ll want to see evidence of the injuries and pain you’ve suffered.
Pain and disability commonly cause depression and anxiety. If you’re experiencing any sort of mental health changes after your accident, it’s just as important to seek professional help for these issues as it is for physical injuries. Insurance companies won’t provide any compensation for these injuries unless these conditions are properly diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
Accurately Document and Rate Your Pain For Your Doctor
When you meet with your doctor, make sure you’re accurately rating your pain. Having an accurate assessment of your pain levels is essential to show the insurance company that your injuries are real and require attention. Telling your doctor your accurate pain levels will get that information in the medical records.
Be sure to mention if you’re having difficulty with work because of your injuries. Problems at work that are caused by your injury may entitle you to compensation, but it must be noted in your medical records. Tell your provider any limitations you’re experiencing because of your injury.
Treat Your Auto Accident Injuries Until You’re Healed
After you’ve met with a doctor and are given a treatment plan, keep up with it. If you stop complying with treatment or discontinue your medication, the insurance company will use this as an excuse not to compensate you.
Whether your treatment is medication, home exercise, follow up visits, or anything else, make sure you’re meeting every requirement and documenting every part of your treatment plan.
You’ll also need to keep any treatment-related items. When you can provide evidence of your treatment through empty medication bottles and treatment devices like walkers or braces, this means you’re more likely to be compensated for it in settlement negotiations.
Take Photos of the Car Crash
Taking photos is crucial to any Iowa car accident claim. Claims that have photos typically settle for more money than claims that have to rely on third party reports or bills. Here are some of the things you should get photo evidence of:
- Vehicle damage – Take pictures of your car from all angles after the accident. File those away with pictures of your car before the accident so the insurance company can see the full extent of the damage.
- Injuries – Photograph any cuts, bruises, visible injuries, casts, medical devices, and treatment.
- Quality of life changes – If your life has been affected by your injury, take photos of what has been affected and how. For example, if you’ve had to install medical devices in your home such as an electric stair lift, railings, ramps, or other methods of assistance, take pictures of these changes.
Next, take notes about everything you remember from the crash as soon as possible. You will have likely filled out an accident report with the law enforcement officer at the scene, but make your own notes as well.
Draw a diagram of the scene and vehicles involved. Make note of the time of day, weather, road conditions, what you saw, and what you heard.
Contact Your Car Insurance Company After Your Auto Accident
As soon as possible, report the crash to your own auto insurance company. Your insurance company will tell you how to proceed and what forms or documents you’ll need to support your claim. Comply with their instructions and get them all of the information they need to process your claim.
If you don’t call your insurance company right away, you may lose whatever protection your insurance company is obligated to provide to you.
You will also need to get permission from your insurance company to have your vehicle repaired. They will likely have procedures in place to get your car fixed and if you fail to work within those procedures, you’ll likely have your claim for repair costs denied by your insurance company.
If anyone was seriously injured or killed in the accident, you should talk to an attorney before having your vehicle repaired.
Did You Lose Your Job Because of Your Car Crash Injuries?
Sometimes, injuries resulting from a car accident can leave you without the ability to perform your job like you once could. Whether that’s sitting for long periods of time, lifting heavy objects, or operating machinery, injuries can make work much more difficult or even impossible.
If you do lose your job because of your injuries, document it. Print copies of all communication between your employer and yourself. Make sure your employer spells out why you lost your job so you can use that as evidence in your claim.
Then, document your job search. You have the responsibility to look for work after your injury. By documenting your job search and proactively making an effort to find a job, it may be easier to prove you should be entitled to compensation.
Stay Off of Social Media Until Your Personal Injury Claim is Resolved
One of the quickest ways to sink your case is by posting on your social media accounts. The insurance company will gain access to your posts and use that information to discredit you. We advise our clients to stay completely off social media for the duration of their case. If you’re out with family or friends, ask them not to tag you in any photos and not to take photos of you.
Social media posts are a gold mine for insurance companies looking to wiggle out of paying a claim. Don’t give them the chance to take you down, too.
Pay Your Medical Bills
Just because you’ve filed an insurance claim or hired an attorney doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay your medical bills. If you refuse to pay your bills, you’ll be turned over to bill collectors who won’t understand that you won’t get a settlement until your treatment is over.
If you have health insurance, submit all your bills to your personal insurance company. If not, pay all the medical bills you can. If the insurance company pays you a fair settlement, you and your health insurance company will be paid back.
If you can’t afford to pay your medical bills right away, we recommend that you personally call your medical providers and work out a payment plan until your case is finished.
Avoid Contact with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
It’s not usually in your best interest to speak to anyone from the other driver’s insurance company. Claims representatives are trained to take recorded statements that will later be used against you.
Tell their representatives to contact you only in writing and do not sign any paperwork from an insurance company other than yours. If you have questions about any documents they’re asking you to sign, consult an attorney. Never accept a settlement offer before talking to an attorney about the value of your claim.
Consult an Experienced Iowa Car Accident Lawyer Before Accepting Any Settlement Offers
Most Iowa personal injury attorneys offer a free case evaluation. During your initial consultation, you will get free advice from an experienced attorney about your claim.
At RSH Legal, we fight against these bullies every day and work to help injured Iowans get the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation by one of our accident attorneys, call 1-319-774-1903 today.