If you are injured, it is very important that you protect your rights. This begins from the moment the collision occurs – at the scene as well as in the days immediately following. If you are injured, you should always consult with a personal injury attorney before you deal with an insurance adjuster.
Note: the following is general information about auto collisions and personal Injury claims and should not be construed as legal advice. Please call me for a free consultation to discuss your particular legal rights
After an Auto Collision
Call 911 immediately and follow the instructions from emergency personnel. Do not comment to others about the collision. Do not make any apologies. Let the proper authorities complete their investigation.
Always call law enforcement if you are in a motor vehicle collision, even if the other driver discourages it. You should always have law enforcement investigate a collision; insurance companies may deny your claim if law enforcement does not investigate the incident and make a report.
Police will investigate the scene, check for injuries, take statements from all parties, interview witnesses, and complete an accident report. Insurance companies use accident reports to determine fault. Give a statement to the police officer when asked.
Witnesses often will not wait for police to arrive. Try to get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses before they leave so you can give their information to the police. The at-fault driver may change his or her story once insurance companies get involved. Independent witnesses are the best source of evidence in determining how a collision occurred.
Take photos of any property damage. If possible, take photographs of the scene (police officers typically will not). Photos can help preserve details that may be disputed later by insurance adjusters. Use your mobile phone if it has a camera. Photograph your injuries, if they are visible, to prevent insurance companies from disputing the nature and extent of your injuries.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you are injured, it is important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible – not only for your own well-being, but also to get medical authority on your side. Insurance companies, unfortunately, often question or dismiss injuries unverified by a doctor. It is very important that all of your injuries are documented immediately following a collision. If you are injured and pursue a claim against the negligent driver, you must be able to prove your injuries.
Even if your injuries are minimal, it is best to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms that seem minor initially could turn out to be something more serious later. If your doctor recommends medical treatment or therapy, you should diligently follow through with the treatment plan. We also encourage you to consult a personal injury lawyer if you need to seek medical treatment.
Attorneys & Adjusters
You should speak to a personal injury attorney immediately following a collision, before insurance adjusters contact you. Determine your rights under Nebraska law before you speak with an adjuster. Do not rely upon insurance adjusters to tell you your rights. No matter how friendly they seem, remember that they work for the insurance companies, not for you. It is your job to protect yourself.
Typically, adjusters from various insurance companies will call and ask you to give a statement about the auto collision and question you about your injuries. You should never give a statement without first talking to a lawyer. Insurance companies and their attorneys could use your statements against you. A good adjuster will act like your best friend. Don’t be fooled.
Always talk to an attorney before you give a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters frequently meet with insurance industry lawyers to discuss how to take statements in an attempt to make the claim appear in the best light for its own insured. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will frequently call injured victims to get his or her “version of the accident.” The problem with recorded statements is that once you give a statement, you cannot change it-even if.
Auto Damage & Repair
Insurance companies handle property damage separately from personal injury claims. If you receive a property damage offer, you should confer with a lawyer before responding. Don’t rely on the insurance company to determine the value of your car. Putnam Law can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
You are entitled to a rental vehicle while your vehicle is under repair; however, there are restrictions on the amount of time you may have a rental vehicle. Contact Putnam Law to discuss your particular claim. Some insurance adjusters will not follow the law on rental coverage.
Personal Injury Damages
If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the following losses:
- Past and future physical pain and mental anguish
- Past and future disfigurement
- Past and future physical impairment
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of household services
- Loss of past wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Punitive (Exemplary) damages in certain cases
Record the dates and times that you miss work because of injuries caused by a collision. Insurance companies frequently dispute claimed wage loss. Call Putnam Law to discuss how to properly document wage loss. Some wage loss may not be recoverable if you do not properly document the loss.
Insurance company claims adjusters frequently push to settle claims. It is in the best interest of the insurance company to settle personal injury claims quickly and for as little money as possible. Often the true nature and extent of your injuries are not known until well after the collision. Once you settle a claim, it is final. You cannot bring another claim.
Medical bills can be financially devastating following an auto collision or other personal injury – even for those with health insurance. Injuries that seem relatively minor at first can quickly balloon into thousands of dollars in medical bills. Today, more than ever, insurance companies are fighting injury claims because of skyrocketing medical costs; a back injury requiring surgery can easily top $100,000!
With this in mind, it is very important to understand and protect your legal rights should you suffer injury as a result of the negligence of another. By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, you can spend your time focusing on your recovery, family, and financial issues.
Statutes of Limitations
If you have been injured, timing is critical – the sooner you speak with a personal injury attorney, the sooner you will determine important issues that affect your particular claim and your ability to collect on it, such as its statute of limitations. You may have more than one type of legal claim, each with a different time limit in which the claim can be settled or a lawsuit filed. Putnam Law can help you manage your claims in an efficient and time-sensitive manner.
Putnam Law has experience in many different types of cases.
- Rear end collisions
- Intersection collisions
- Alcohol related crashes
- Hit and run
- Rollover accidents
- Uninsured and underinsured motorists
- Passenger injuries
- Driver injuries
- Commercial tractor trailer / semi truck accidents
- Collisions with bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians
- ATV accidents
- Boating accidents