Your decisions are crucial after a motor vehicle collision. Making the wrong choice can turn a bad situation worse.
Norris Injury Lawyers can assist you in taking steps to help things go more smoothly from the start. Consulting a lawyer can also help you to avoid disastrous mistakes that could destroy your chances of getting a fair settlement.
Though you might feel helpless, help to put you on a better track is only one phone call away. Receive free advice and learn about your rights with no obligation. Schedule your legal consultation at (800) 477-7510.
Essential Actions to Take on the First Day
At Norris Injury Lawyers, we meet many clients shortly after personal injury accidents. Some have already taken steps that made their lives easier, whereas others made costly mistakes that jeopardized their legal cases. Following the advice on this page can help you become a part of the first group.
Address safety concerns
Accidents often occur at unexpected times and places. If you get into an accident, move your vehicle to a safe location, like the side of the road. If you cannot move the vehicle for any reason, engage your emergency flashers.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) shared a reason to be cautious. Engaging with the other driver could be dangerous, for example:
- The other motorist might be aggressive if road rage triggered the collision
- Carjackers sometimes cause rear-end accidents intentionally to get drivers to exit their vehicles
If these issues are a concern, park your car in a secure, well-lit spot that does not block traffic. Call 911 and wait inside your vehicle until authorities arrive.
Assess for injuries
Alabama law requires you to report any motor vehicle accident resulting in injuries or death. Check your car’s occupants first, then give attention to others if the circumstances allow it. You should call 911 for any serious injuries.
Failing to see a doctor or waiting too long can put your health in danger. Medical conditions like those listed below might not show immediate or obvious symptoms:
- Whiplash: An injury caused by a sudden or severe jerk to the head or neck, commonly caused by rear-end accidents
- Head injuries: Concussions, internal bleeding or swelling, and hematomas (blood clots) can result from a blow or vigorous shake to the head
- Broken bones: Some do not notice hairline fractures until they stop moving, but ignoring them puts pressure on the bones that could lead to a more severe break
- Sprains, strains, and bruises: Soft-tissue injuries whose delayed symptoms of swelling and pain might occur hours after an incident
- Spinal injuries: Herniated disks or other spine injuries sometimes produce little to no immediate symptoms
- Psychological trauma: Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleep disorders might develop days, weeks, or months after an accident
In other cases, minor injuries are more severe than initially evident. Adrenaline tends to mask pain and discomfort after a traumatic event.
Unfortunately, insurers do not always play fair. They might claim that you were hurt in some previous or later event. Therefore, you should always seek professional medical attention as soon as possible after an accident to establish the true extent of the resulting injuries.
Take good notes
Accurate evidence is the foundation of a strong insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Do not assume that law enforcement will capture all the facts.
You or one of your passengers should write down information or take photos of items like:
- The name, phone number, address, insurance, and driver’s license numbers of all involved motorists
- The contact information of any witnesses
- The badge number and name of the responding officer
- Make, model, color, and license plate numbers of all involved vehicles
- Property damage
- Relevant street conditions (e.g. skid marks, mud, ice, signs, or construction)
- Weather conditions
Bystanders sometimes are a valuable resource. They might record things with their phone or the dashcam of their vehicle.
Ask for copies of any evidence when you exchange contact information. Witnesses might even be willing to record a brief audio or video statement for you while the details are fresh in their minds.
Contact car accident lawyers
Insurance companies might urge accident victims to contact them from the scene. However, we encourage you to ask an attorney for advice before you file a claim.
Insurers value profit, so some look for loopholes to avoid paying fair compensation. You could unwittingly say something that will damage your claim, even:
- “I feel fine.” As discussed above, not all injuries are immediately apparent, particularly to an inexperienced eye. Yet, an innocent remark could be used to downplay the severity of your injuries later.
- “I’m sorry.” An accident often catches you off-guard, and you may feel shaken up after it happens. In such a state, you might apologize out of courtesy or to diffuse the situation. Despite this, insurance companies could claim that you were admitting fault.
Why take the chance of saying something that can be unjustly used against you? You can call Norris Injury Lawyers no matter what time of night or day your accident occurs. Our phone lines at (800) 477-7510 are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
We can advise you or contact your insurance company on your behalf. Each case is different, so schedule your free appointment with us soon to find out what guidelines apply to your circumstances.
Take Advantage of Our Help in the First Week
The next seven days should be dedicated to putting yourself in a good position to collect compensation for your losses. We realize that your injuries might make it difficult for you to juggle all the complex responsibilities that come with an auto collision. So, our law firm will do what we can to set you up for success and handle some of the most unpleasant details.
Obtaining the police report
The police officer responding to the accident will collect information and compile an accident report. This information can provide valuable evidence for your claim. Our lawyers can help you purchase your copy from the Birmingham Police Department.
Police officers might not document an accident with no obvious injuries. However, you can complete a SR-31 form to report property damage. Later, you would need medical statements to prove that symptoms that appeared later were related to your accident.
Our law firm can also help you gather eyewitness information to support your case. Many times, witnesses notice details that you might miss. Those who live locally might remember other accidents that occurred at the same location, indicating that road conditions might have played a role in your collision.
Dealing with insurers
Auto insurance policies are not always easy to read. Our attorneys can decode the particulars so you understand your rights. Knowing what your claim is worth could mean you will not be easily deceived if insurers offer less than you deserve.
Insurance companies insist on documentation. At Norris Injury Lawyers, we want our clients’ recovery to be as stress-free as possible. We can assist you in preparing materials to prove the extent of your injuries, lost wages, and property damage.
Strict insurance deadlines can seem unreasonable for those struggling to adjust to life after an accident. Our experienced team is ready to focus our energy on these necessary time constraints. Our motivation is your peace of mind.
What you can do
Specific actions can increase your chances of a successful resolution. We encourage you to work toward the following objectives:
- Save all correspondence with insurers, including letters, voicemails, emails, and text messages
- Write down who you talk to at your insurance company, along with the date, time, and brief details of what the conversation was about
- Follow doctor’s orders, including picking up your prescriptions and keeping your appointments
- Keep a journal of your health condition describing pain, discomfort, and physical and psychological symptoms
- Hold on to receipts for accident-related expenses (e.g. transportation, estimates, medical devices)
- Record missed days of work and any of your benefits used during your recovery (i.e. vacation days, paid and unpaid leave)
- Let us know if you recall something about your accident; even small facts might be significant
Knowing that you are doing your part can help you feel better while insurers process your claim. If attorneys need to file a lawsuit on your behalf, the steps you have already taken may help further strengthen your case.
Act as Soon as Possible
After more than 40 years of assisting our clients to achieve successful results, our Alabama legal team understands the art of dealing with insurers. Most claims are settled out of court and satisfied clients can move on with their lives.
Uncooperative at-fault drivers or unethical insurers could mean we need to involve the legal system in your claim. Yet, the State of Alabama limits the time we have to act. You could lose your right to compensation for a Birmingham car accident if you take too long to open a case.
Let’s ensure that you and your loved ones have enough time to get fair compensation. Get in touch with Norris Injury Lawyers anytime by calling (800) 477-7510, clicking the live agent icon at the bottom of the screen, or visiting our Birmingham office. We look forward to helping you meet your legal goals.