You've Been Injured … Now What?
You've been injured, whether in an auto accident, a slip-and-fall accident, being bitten by a dog or someone's pet snake, or in any other manner. Now what?
First, no matter what your parents may have taught you, do not apologize.
Second, because it's so very important, do not apologize.
Okay, another first - that can happen at the same time you're not apologizing - you need to make sure that you and anyone else who is injured are appropriately taken care of. If First Aid is needed, and you're able to help provide it, great. If you're not able, allow someone to take care of your First Aid needs.
If police are involved and you're able to answer their questions, do so clearly and as briefly as possible. Make sure to get a copy of the police report later, for your records.
Another first - there are lots of important things that can be done immediately after an injury, if you are physically able to do them - is to observe as much as you can. Who is around? Who is injured? What is the weather like? How many police are involved? Is there an ambulance (or more than one)? Who's going in the ambulance(s)?
If possible, take or have someone else take photographs of the accident scene.
If you were in an auto accident and you have SettlementCentral.Com's Accident Information Form in your vehicle, get it out and use it as a reminder of information you will need later. If others were involved in the accident, note their names and vehicle information. If there are witnesses, note their names and contact information, along with notes of what they saw.
As soon as possible after you are injured, if you will be using your health or auto insurance, notify your insurance company.
Keep track of everything that's happening. Keep a list of the people you've talked to - names, company they're with, date and time of the call, purpose of the call, issues discussed.
In fact, keeping a Confidential Personal Diary is an excellent idea. Adding notes to that Confidential Personal Diaryevery day will help you when it comes time to answer questions later about how long something bothered you. Or when did you first notice something else. Or when did you start back to work, and when did you last a whole day at work without pain? What questions do you have, and - when you find out - what are the answers to those questions?
One thing you do not want to do right away is agree to an insurance company's settlement offer. As discussed in Rules of the Game, insurance companies win when they settle claims immediately, before the injured person has time to realize the extent of the injuries or the total amount of medical bills they're facing. Be patient. The insurance company will still be around after you are healed enough to know what type of settlement will be appropriate. Until then, answer each suggestion that you settle with a polite, written "Not yet, thank you." Keep a copy of your letter. See our sample letters for turning down a settlement offer with a check or without a check.
SettlementCentral.Comoffers subscribed members checklists, form and sample letters for the situations within the insurance claim process.
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