Auto Accidents, Part Three Making Your Case – In the Days Following a Crash

Aug 9, 2022 | Auto Accidents

In Part 1 of this series, “Do the First Things First”, we discussed the top 5 things to consider immediately after a crash. In Part 2, “Making Your Case – At the Scene”, we reviewed the top 5 things to document at the crash site. In this article, we will talk about 5 things to do and 3 things to expect in the days following your accident.

Five things to do:

  1. Get medical treatment for yourself and your passengers.

Now is the time when you need to work on your recovery. Do not avoid going to the emergency room, by ambulance if needed, if you feel unwell or injured. Immediately seek follow-up treatment for any injuries or pain as a gap in treatment may have an adverse effect on your case. If you have no insurance, speak to a lawyer as they may be able to help you get medical treatment. Keep your attorney informed about all your injuries and any pain you are suffering. Finally, go back to work if you are able. It does not help your case to stay at home when you are able to work.

  1. Inform your insurance company that you were involved in a car accident.

Be prepared to provide details about the accident and the other involved parties and their insurance information, however keep to the facts of the case only. Do NOT give or agree to give a statement. You should consult an attorney before providing anything other than the basic details and providing the accident report. If any of the drivers involved in the accident were uninsured, your insurance company will want to know.

  1. If any vehicles involved in the accident are inoperable, ask a car dealership or repair person if these vehicles make use of an Event Data Recorder (EDR).

An EDR or automobile “black box” is not a separate unit but rather a part of the restraint system control module. It records information such as impacts, deployment of seat belt tensioners and/or air bags. When these events occur, other data may be captured such as speed before and after impact, brake status, engine RPM’s, throttle positions and whether the driver’s seat belt was fastened. This information, especially from the at-fault driver’s vehicle, could be useful in making your case.

  1. Attend all proceedings in which the At-Fault driver is criminally prosecuted, including any Traffic Court hearings.

If you cannot attend, send someone you trust. Take notes. The driver may testify, and information may surface that can aide in your case. Get the names (and addresses, if given) of all persons testifying.

  1. Stay in touch with your attorney.

Now is the time to “overshare.” Any detail affecting your case needs to be passed on to your attorney whether it involves your medical treatment, other claims being handled for property damage, contact with the other driver(s) attorney(s), contact with other involved parties and their insurance companies, or anything else. Specifically, if you are contacted by other parties, their attorneys or insurance companies, do not speak to them. Refer them to your attorney. Do not make statements as these can be used against you when trying to settle your case

Three things to expect:

  1. Individuals may ask you to speak out about your accident or you may be tempted to “share.”

Do not talk to the media or post anything on social media that could influence the outcome of your case. As an example, a video showing an extensive exercise regime will be discovered by the opposing side and used to claim your injuries were insignificant. Talking to the media may make you famous for the day, but these public statements rarely serve to benefit your case and often prove to be detrimental.

  1. An experienced Personal Injury Attorney will help you make the best case.

There is little reason not to speak to a personal injury attorney about your case. In general, these attorneys do not charge you to discuss the merits of your case. If during the meeting it is determined that you would not benefit from engaging the attorney, you will have no obligation to him or her to proceed.

  1. An Insurance Company may present you with a Settlement Document or Release Form.

Do not sign these documents. Consult with your attorney first. The exception occurs when the offer of money relates only to the damages to the victim’s automobile. An injured party can settle his claims for property damages without releasing the at-fault driver from claims for personal injuries or wrongful death. However, careful reading of the settlement documents must be made to ensure that the settlement is expressly limited to property damages and does not impact the personal injury or wrongful death claims. In general, always have any release reviewed by your attorney.

In “Automobile Accidents, Part Four – Let’s Settle This”, we will discuss what everyone hopes for, an end to the case, hopefully, one that provides you with a best case scenario.



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