The First Steps After an Auto Accident
There is plenty that you likely dealt with at the scene of the accident. If you were not seriously injured, you likely traded contact and insurance information, and you may or may not have filed a police report.
As soon after the accident as possible, write down any and all information you can recall about the accident. List any witnesses who may have seen what happened, as well as anything unusual that occurred. Note what the weather was like, what the speed limit was, how fast you were traveling if you were in a vehicle, and estimate how fast you believe the person at fault was likely traveling.
Be sure to keep records of the names of police officers who responded to the scene, as well as the incident number. You’ll use the incident number to obtain a copy of the police report, once it is written.
Do not admit fault to the police, to the other driver, or to an insurance company at any point in the process.
Visit a doctor (or an emergency room, if necessary) to fully assess your injuries, and save any reports or documentation provided. When an accident happens, your body becomes filled with adrenaline, which can keep you from feeling or realizing that you’ve sustained an injury. Early treatment can prevent injuries from getting worse. In addition, an insurance company could argue that your failure to seek medical treatment aggravated your injury, or even that your injury did not arise from the accident at all.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Unless you or the other party are not insured, you will be contacted by both your insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver. Chances are good that you will receive a settlement offer from an insurance company.
Insurance companies can be tricky. Their representatives often sound kind and caring on the phone—but do not be deceived. They do not represent you. They represent the insurance company, and their primary goal is to settle with you for as little money as possible.
Insurance companies count on the fact that you probably don’t know how much you can actually recover in damages. They can sound very convincing, and will attempt to coerce you into signing a waiver that absolves them from responsibility, or to settle for a relatively small amount.
Do not accept an offer, sign any waiver, or cash any checks from an insurance company without first consulting Bohrer and Brady car accident attorneys.
About No Pay, No Play
Many states, including Louisiana, have a “No Pay, No Play” law. This means that, if you are in an auto accident and you do not have car insurance, you lose your right to recover a certain amount of damages.
In Louisiana, the No Pay, No Play law says that, if you are in an accident while driving an uninsured car, you lose your right to recover the first $10,000 in damages. This law does not apply to passengers in a vehicle.
An experienced personal injury attorney at Bohrer Brady in Baton Rouge, Louisiana can help you sort out all the losses related to your accident.