Auto Accident Injury: What Can You Do?
One of the most important areas after any injury is documentation.
Paperwork. Keep it all!
Make - and keep - a copy of everything you sign regarding the accident, your
medical care, your vehicle and any communications with insurance agents or
adjusters. As much as possible, do things in writing instead of on the
phone, so you will have a copy. Then you can prove what you said and what
they said if such proof becomes necessary.
- Send a letter.
- Send a fax.
- When asked questions in a phone call, request
that the insurance adjuster (or anyone else) send you a letter so you can
be certain to answer the question fully. You don't need to mention that
the letter also adds to your record of what is happening. Just tell the
person you can't talk on the phone right now, please send a letter.
- When that letter comes, answer it (remembering
never to apologize), keep a copy, and file that letter with the copy of
Insurance companies like to settle a claim quickly. Their ads suggest
that this is because they care about you, the injured person. Their
financial statements tell a different story - they like to settle early
because then they have to pay less. Read more at Rules of the Game.
What can you do?
- If applicable, gather (or photograph)
any physical evidence.
- Document everything. Yes, everything.
- Start a Confidential Personal Diary
as soon as possible after your injury occurs. As the word "diary"
suggests, write in it every day, following the guidelines given on this
Web site. As the word "personal" suggests, do not tell other people
the diary exists. In particular, do not tell the insurance
adjusters the diary exists.
- Be prepared by knowing and reading the Rules of
- Learn the sorts of questions you will be asked
- Know when you need an attorney.
Remember that you are the person who cares the most about your claim,
about your life, about whether the
settlement you accept is sufficient to cover the true costs from
To see some of the questions that are routinely asked of drivers and
passengers after an auto accident, go to
and read through them. Remember, these questions may not be asked until