After being in a car accident, you could use a little bit of pampering. If you lived in North Dakota, you might even get some free repairs courtesy of a kindhearted local business. Matt’s Automotive Repair annually gives out up to $2,000 to several customers in the form of free repairs and maintenance. Each year before the holiday season, the shop puts out a request for names of deserving people of this special end-of-year gift. From the recommendations, they pick a few folks and get to work to make their vehicles safe again.
Even if you don’t live anywhere near the northern part of the country, you will still want to treat yourself well after being in a car accident. This means you’ll want to take some important steps to get back on your feet. At the same time, you need to perform some random acts of kindness for yourself. You’re probably going to feel a little shaken up after being in a car accident, so do yourself a favor, take a deep breath, and systematically work through this list of tasks you should perform after being in a car accident.
Obtain Immediate Medical Attention
In Florida alone, speeding plays a role in around 17% of crashes. Whether you experience a parking lot fender bender or get involved in a catastrophic truck wreck on the highway, your body may encounter quite a bit of force. Obviously, bodies aren’t meant to be twisted, turned, yanked, or jerked. That’s why musculoskeletal and soft tissue problems like whiplash and herniated discs are so common occurrences for people after being in a car accident.
Whether or not you think you’ve suffered any type of injury after being in a car accident, you need to get medical attention. Why? Many people go into shock after a crash. Or, they have such an adrenaline rush that they don’t realize how hurt they are. Even victims with broken bones and internal bleeding may feel absolutely nothing until hours or days later.
While it’s not necessary that you absolutely seek emergency medical care at the scene or nearby at a local emergency hospital or urgent care clinic, you’ll at least want to make an appointment with your primary care doctor. Explain that you’ve recently been in a car accident and that you want to be completely evaluated. Your personal physician will be able to give you a check-up to ensure that you’re okay. If you’re not and you didn’t realize it, you’ll be very glad that you have documentation that states you were hurt.
What makes documentation vital? Your insurance or the insurance of the at-fault driver may cover the cost of not only your medical appointment visit to get checked out after being in a car accident, but also any follow-up treatment, medication expenses, diagnostic exams, and surgical procedures. Be sure to keep a record of everything.
You may also want to arrange for a dental appointment. Interestingly, many people don’t think to call their dentist after being in a car accident. Your teeth and jaw can shift after being in a violent or even moderate crash. You’re better off knowing upfront whether or not the collision left lasting damage to your jawbone, teeth, or gums. You can get the issue taken care of and perhaps even paid for by insurance. If you’re having trouble with your eyes or ears after being in a car accident, make an appointment with an optometrist or audiologist, too.
Consult Your Insurance Agency
Once you’ve taken care of your immediate medical needs, you do need to consult with your car insurance agent and the insurance provider. You can do this by making a call right at the crash site if you’re able. On the other hand, some accident victims like to wait until they can get to a safe, quiet place, like their home, to call the insurance company.
When you contact an insurance agent after being in a car accident, the agent will want to know all of the details of the crash. Before you get on the phone, you might want to jot down everything you remember so you have the information on hand. What should you write down? Honestly, anything. You need to know the date of the accident, the approximate time it happened, how it happened, who was hurt, whether or not police arrived on the scene, whether or not police interviewed you for the report, the name and insurance of the other driver, the other driver’s insurance account number, and other details.
Don’t be surprised if your insurance agent also asks for names of any passengers who were traveling in your vehicle, or the names and numbers of witnesses who were there for the event. Your insurance company is trying to piece together exactly what happened to determine what they have to pay, and perhaps who was at fault. It’s important to know that not every state follows the rule that the at-fault driver’s insurance should pay for victims’ economic and non-economic damages. In some states, drivers will share fault. In other states, each driver’s insurance pays for the driver’s economic damages automatically regardless of why the accident happened in the first place.
Again, you may want to pull out a copy of your auto insurance policy before jumping on the phone with the insurance agent. Have your contract in hand so you can ask questions, especially if your insurance carrier gives you a hard time about compensation. Your policy should outline exactly what you can expect from your insurance company. Additionally, you can double-check on how much you’ll need to pay out of pocket for a deductible for repairs and other economic damages. Depending on the deductible you chose when you set up your policy, you may have to pay several thousand dollars before the insurance carrier will kick in.
It should be noted at this point that many victims hesitate to call their insurance providers after being in a car accident. Why? They’re worried about their premiums jumping up. While it’s true that your premiums may increase after being in a car accident, you still need to call your insurance agent. Otherwise, the other driver’s insurance may call them first, and that’s not how you want your insurance carrier to find out about your car accident.
Seek Rehabilitation for an Injury
Maybe you were diagnosed with an injury after being in a car accident. You went through a bit of treatment and felt like you were getting better. Later, you realized that you weren’t as healthy as you thought. But here’s the problem: Your healthcare insurance isn’t willing to cover rehabilitation appointments like physical or occupational therapy, or alternative treatments like chiropractic care at a wellness and rehab center.
Whatever you do, don’t stop attending rehab just because you have to pay with your own money. Yes, it’s expensive to rehabilitate serious injuries after being in a car accident. There’s no doubt about it. Medical bills can add up quite quickly. Just remember, though, that your safety and health is worth any price. You can always try to compel your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay for your rehabilitation later, perhaps with the assistance of a legal professional. At the moment, though, you need to get better.
How long does it take to heal after being in a car accident? Honestly, it depends on a number of factors. Did the injury leave you with a long-term complication, such as a limp or the inability to fully extend your arm? Will your rehab involve a number of body parts or a number of structures in your body? These are all considerations when it comes to how long you can expect to attend rehabilitative sessions.
Hire a Lawyer
Do you estimate that your economic losses after being in a car accident are going to exceed several thousands of dollars? It is wise to seek legal counsel. You aren’t obligated to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer, even if you receive a free or low-price consultation, but it’s worth seeing what a legal professional has to say about your case.
Why would you want to involve a lawyer in your life after being in a car accident? Lawyers who work with crash victims understand how to negotiate bigger settlements from insurance companies. Yes, you’ll end up paying the lawyer for these services. However, you still could make more from the insurance company than you would otherwise.
For instance, let’s just say that after being in a car accident, you try to negotiate some economic damages in a big settlement from your insurance provider. The insurance provider offers to give you $10,000. That sounds good until you think about your medical bills. You’ve already spent in excess of $5,000 on treatments, surgeries, and tests, and you still have to rehab in order to get better and fully recover. Plus, you’ve lost several unpaid weeks off work, and you’re not 100% convinced that you won’t have to take more time off. This doesn’t even touch upon the cost to repair your wrecked car.
With this in mind, you may try to get more than $10,000 from the insurance company. If the insurance company doesn’t budge, you can call a lawyer. The lawyer may feel that a more reasonable number is $30,000. The lawyer offers you a contingent fee deal: The lawyer will take 30% of the agreed-upon settlement in lieu of upfront fees. This means if the lawyer obtains $30,000 in settlement monies, you will pay the lawyer $9,000 and you’ll have $21,000. It may be worth losing the 30% to more than double what the insurance company was originally ready to offer you.
Figure Out Means of Transportation
You’ve been in a car crash. Fortunately, you’ve gotten out of it only a little injured. Nevertheless, your car is totaled and you have to wait for insurance to kick in to purchase a new set of wheels. In the meantime, you’ll have to find alternative transportation to do everything from getting your child to middle school to completing all of your weekly errands.
One way to solve your temporary transportation dilemma could be to rent a car. Your insurance may cover the cost of a car rental. Be sure to ask the car insurance representative when you call after being in a car accident. Other strategies to get where you need to go include hiring a personal car service, using a third-party car service like Uber or Lyft, leaning on local public transportation, borrowing a vehicle from a neighbor, or asking a friend to drive you around.
Hire Services to Fix Your Car and Other Broken Items
Your car was probably at least a bit dinged during your accident. Yet the damage to your vehicle might not be the only personal damages you’re dealing with after being in a car accident. Many people have personal items in their cars, SUVs, and trucks. These can include cell phones, laptops, and other pricey electronics equipment.
After being in a car accident, you may be in need of someone to fix items that were broken. For instance, your smartphone might require a bit of cell phone repair for a cracked screen. Whenever it makes sense to get something repaired that was broken as a direct result of your crash, keep the receipts. First, though, take pictures or videos to document the extent of the damage to your objects. Once again, your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance might be willing to cover some or all of the repair costs for your broken items. However, if you don’t keep excellent documentation, you can’t expect to get any kind of compensation.
Make an Appointment With a Mental Health Professional
A recent car accident can rattle you more extensively than you might assume. After the wreck, you might find yourself unable to sleep comfortably at night because you’re reliving parts of the collision. Some people even experience symptoms that mimic PTSD or start to spiral into a state of depression.
Rather than allowing your mental health to take a tumble after being in a car accident, seek out professional help. Counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other trained experts welcome the chance to help accident victims work through the emotional trauma and fallout.
Just remind yourself that it may take time for you to start to feel like yourself again. This is especially true if the crash you experienced was particularly tragic or led to a fatality. Be patient with yourself. You can work through everything. You just need to be realistic.
No one wants to get in a car accident. The good news is that most people walk away, even if they’ve been somewhat hurt. Consider taking some or all of the previous steps to mitigate the problems associated with being in a crash. You’ll be glad you made the effort to get through the experience as unscathed as possible.