Have you ever wondered what happens after a car accident? What are the steps of a personal injury claim? How does this whole process work? Here are the first 5 steps of a personal injury claim:
1. INVESTIGATE FACTS OF ACCIDENT
Before you can do anything, you have to know the facts of the accident. This usually involves getting the police report, talking to the parties and talking to any witnesses. Scene investigations and photographs of the car may also be helpful. Your attorney should do this for you, if you hire one.
2. INVESTIGATE INSURANCE
Once you know the facts, you can determine if the party at fault has insurance. This is usually on the police report, if there is one. In California, the DMV can also provide this information in certain circumstances. If the other party does not have insurance, you can file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance, if you have that coverage.
3. OBTAIN VEHICLE ESTIMATE
Your car needs to be fixed. You need to obtain at least one estimate from a shop of your choice. Ask friends and co-workers for recommendations of good shops. Remember: it is YOUR choice where to get your car fixed.
4. GET MEDICAL TREATMENT
See your family doctor within a few days after the accident. If you need specialized care, ask for a referral. If you do not have insurance, you may need to apply for assistance or find a doctor willing to treat you on a lien. A lien means that the doctor gets paid when the case settles.
5. GET MEDICAL RECORDS
Once you are better and your doctor discharges you, then you need to obtain your medical records. Do not let the insurance company obtain your records. Ask the doctor for all records and bills from the date of the accident to the present. Why shouldn't you let the insurance company get your records? They will have access to all of your personal medical records, including things that are none of their business.
These are the first five steps of EVERY auto accident case. If you are involved in a car crash, then these things need to be done in every case. I will give you 5 more steps in the next post.