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What to do in case of a motor vehicle wreck

Protect Your Rights

Following a motor vehicle or motorcycle wreck, there are certain things you can do to protect your rights. You can be mentally and physically shaken following a motor vehicle or motorcycle wreck. You might be injured, afraid, and confused. This is not the best time to make important decisions, without help. While you must assist the police at the scene of a motor vehicle or motorcycle wreck, you should withhold comment from others about how the wreck occurred.

Record The Scene

Take photographs of the scene of the wreck at your first opportunity. Get the name, address, and telephone number of the other drivers and any witnesses. Landscapes and signs change over time. The better you are able to recreate the scene of the wreck, the easier it will be for you to tell your story when it comes time to present your claim.

Document Your Injuries

You may not know the extent of your injuries at the time of the wreck. Symptoms can develop over several days. You should seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible and inform the emergency room or your physician that you were in a motor vehicle or motorcycle wreck. If you have health insurance – use it. You are ultimately responsible for your medical bills. That is why it is so important to know all the issues surrounding what insurance coverages may be available. In addition, you may have an injury that is serious, long term, and expensive. It can take a year or more to determine whether an injury will be permanent. When you call, we will explain the effects of waiting too long to seek medical attention and what may happen when you fail to describe your injuries in detail.

After the Wreck

Take photographs of any cuts and bruises you sustain. They are of great importance in documenting your injuries. Also, be sure to take photographs of your car before it is repaired. Take pictures from every angle, including the interior, and use a whole roll of film. Remember, it is in the insurance company’s best interests to have your vehicle repaired or taken away before you can take these photographs. Most insurance companies, like juries, associate property damage with how badly someone is hurt.

When your car or motorcycle is a total loss or damaged so much that it cannot be driven, you may be entitled to a rental car provided by the insurance company. However, you may need to specifically request it. Insurance company adjusters do not always let you know your rights. After the insurance company has made a reasonable offer of settlement on your totaled vehicle, they no longer have to keep you in the rental car. If you want to know whether their offer is reasonable, go to our LINKS page and click the NADA-Guide site.

You can settle the property damage portion of your claim separately from any personal injury issues. However, when you speak with the other driver’s adjuster about your property damage, you often give them a snapshot impression of your physical injuries as well. Since people who suffer personal injuries often have good days and bad days, we recommend that you speak with an attorney prior to establishing a relationship with the insurance company adjuster. That way you will be armed with information. As you probably have heard before, information is power.

Insurance Companies

Be careful when dealing with insurance company representatives. While they may give the appearance of being on your side, they are representing a business and are seeking to limit their company’s liability. For example, if they can get you to sign a release quickly, before you know the full extent of your injuries, you may lose your right to fair compensation. In addition, when you think they are assuring you a payment of all your medical bills, listen closely to what they say. They often limit their promise, by saying they will “pay all reasonable medical expenses.” This may be a problem for you down the road when they inform you that such and such charge was not “reasonable.”

When the liability of the other driver is clearly set forth on the police report, there is often no reason to give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement. Just after a traumatic event, your body may not experience pain right away for a variety of reasons. Yet, several days later, when your body relaxes, you can hurt all over. Insurance company adjusters are professionals, trained in taking statements and getting you to say what they want on tape. These statements can be used against you in the future. If you give a statement just after a wreck occurs and describe your physical condition to the adjuster, it is likely that the adjuster will remind you of what you said when it comes time to settle your claim. If you happen to give a recorded statement prior to contacting an attorney, the insurance company must provide you with a copy at your request.

Seek Legal Counsel

If you are injured, it can give you peace of mind to consult with an attorney. Even if we do not take your case, if you mention this web site, we will provide you with answers to your questions at no cost. Please click on our automobile and motorcycle wreck page to see some of the frequently asked questions we address every day.

Schuette Law of North Raleigh, P.A., provides free consultations to those who suffer physical injuries as a result of the negligence of another. We can explain the process of insurance claims in greater detail.

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