Car wreck personal injury. Now what?

You received personal injury in a car wreck. What do you do now? This blog post will hopefully help you get started with what you need to do to protect your legal rights after you have been in a car wreck.

First, car wrecks are frequent occurrences. There are many statistics that show car wrecks are a leading cause of personal injury and death in the United States. Here is a link to the United States Center for Disease Control

Follow or paste that link into your browser to read lots of information about what can happen in car wrecks and the different statistics for the various types of car wrecks occurring in the United States.

As a lawyer who represents people who have been in car wrecks, I can give you a very good overview of what you need to do if you have been injured in an automobile accident to protect your legal rights.

First and foremost, retain a lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer can remove all the stress and get to work for you immediately. That way, your lawyer can work for you and be your advocate so you do not have to worry about dealing with everything in the aftermath of the accident.  A lawyer does not work for free and most lawyers charge a contingency fee-meaning that you will not owe a fee unless there is a financial recovery for you.  So the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon there being a successful result for you. Most lawyers in the Upstate of South Carolina are going to charge you a percentage fee of at least 33.3 percent off the top of the total monetary settlement-or 33.3 percent of the gross settlement amount. The attorneys fee is calculated on the amount you settle for before there are any other deductions out of the settlement for costs, medical bill payments, or other payments to insurance companies, or Medicare, if applicable.

But when you have been involved in a personal injury accident, that old adage “you get what you pay for” really comes into play. You could represent yourself, relying upon the advice of a family member or friend who tells you they know what your case is worth. Representing yourself is a very dangerous path to take. Abraham Lincoln once said that “a person who represents himself has a fool for a client.” There are just too many pitfalls that could cause a self-represented person to ruin their case and as a result negatively affect their financial and health future.  So step one: Retain a lawyer who focuses on personal injury cases to represent you.

Step two. Retain a copy of the accident form that the law enforcement officer gave you at the site of the wreck. That form will have a lot of information on it and it makes it easier for your lawyer to obtain the full accident report from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Take that form to your lawyer’s office when you go for your first meeting with your lawyer. Another easy thing to do is to snap some pictures of your car after the wreck or at the body shop or two yard. That will help your case. Bring those pictures to your first meeting with your lawyer. If you are unable to take pictures of the car after the wreck, your lawyer or his staff can go to the car and take pictures for you.

Step three-take care of yourself by getting the appropriate medical attention. After your discharge from the hospital, take the time to heal. Don’t over do it. Go to your doctor appointments and other appointments like physical therapy.  Finish your medication and follow your doctor’s orders. Trying to get back to an active lifestyle too soon after an injury will only delay healing. Let your body heal and seek out the treatment you need to recover.

Some other issues that may arise:

Talking with the other driver’s insurance company. Frequently the other driver’s insurance company will try to contact you. Just politely inform the insurance company representative that you are in the process of hiring a lawyer and you want to consult with a lawyer before you speak with an insurance company. Remember, as pleasant and as nice as the other driver’s insurance representative sounds over the phone, the other driver’s insurance company does not represent you. The other driver’s insurance company is not there to help you.

Medical bills. If you have health insurance, tell the health care provider to file the medical bills with your health insurance company. You have health insurance to pay your medical bills if you need medical treatment. That’s why you pay the premium for health insurance.  Some providers will not file your bills with your health insurance; but they will tell you that the other driver’s automobile insurance should pay the bill. The other driver’s automobile insurance will not pay your medical bills. So tell the healthcare providers treating you to file their bill with your health insurance.

Following the above steps after you have been injured in a car wreck should be enough to protect your legal rights going forward. Hiring a lawyer soon after the accident will produce major benefits for you later on. Your lawyer will know what to do to protect your legal rights and will serve as your advocate. So do the smart thing and hire a lawyer after you have been in car wreck.