If you have ever been in a car wreck, you know things can get confusing and difficult in a hurry. If your car or truck has been damaged and is not drivable, you need alternate transportation to get to school or work. If you have been injured, you need medical attention. You may be getting numerous phone calls from persons offering “free” medical treatment or “free” legal advice. Insurance adjusters will call wanting a full explanation of what happened. It can be overwhelming. Below is a brief list of things to do, as well as things to avoid that should make your life a little less hectic after a collision.
First, if you are injured, or simply aren’t sure what injuries you may have sustained because you still feel in shock, be sure to tell the officer investigating the wreck that you want medical assistance. If you have someone available to take you to an emergency room or to a clinic, and don’t need an ambulance, be sure to tell the officer that although you do not need an ambulance, you are going to seek medical attention. San Antonio Police and Bexar County Sheriff investigating officers are supposed to document these communications and you do not want an insurance adjuster claiming you weren’t hurt because you told the officer you were fine or that you would be “ok.”
If your auto wreck happened in San Antonio, Texas, be sure to obtain a copy of the police officer’s card, and the accident report number. You may need this information to secure insurance information against the at fault driver. Likewise, any investigating agency, such as a local sheriff’s office or Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers will all be able to give you information on how to obtain a copy of your report. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, it is usually not beneficial to give a recorded statement until you have a clear head, and have had time to seek legal advice. If you answer a question poorly, or just get confused during the process, the insurance company will quote the recorded statement and use it against you.
Unsolicited phone calls with offers for “free” medical help, and/or assistance in finding a lawyer, should be looked on with scrutiny. A reputable physician or lawyer should not make an unsolicited contact with you or your family. If you feel you need assistance in finding medical attention, ask your friends and family. If you have health insurance, contact a doctor or seek emergency care (if needed) at a facility on your plan.
You may not need an attorney. Perhaps your insurance carrier will repair your vehicle, and you have not suffered any injury. In those circumstances, consider yourself fortunate, and put the wreck behind you.
However, if you feel that you need legal counsel and advice, research and talk with attorneys before making a decision. You should feel comfortable, confident, and secure in your decision. An attorney should talk with you and inform you about what can be done for you, as well as what cannot be accomplished. Legal assistants and paralegals play an important role in a law office, but clients should get legal advice from attorneys – ask to speak with an attorney directly. Additionally, most law firms that have been retained to handle a bodily injury claim will assist the client with property damage claims, and PIP insurance claims, without charging a fee.
The aftermath of an automobile accident can be difficult, but you have rights and you should not feel forced to make quick decisions that can have long-term impact. Protect yourself and seek competent counsel.