Automobile accidents are, unfortunately, commonplace, yet many people don’t know what to do following an accident. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure drivers don’t mess up their auto accident case.
“After an accident, always make sure that everyone involved is unhurt or receives adequate medical attention,” said third-generation Virginia attorney Scott R. Barney, who focuses on personal injury law. “However, soon after injuries are assessed and help is called, the parties involved turn to assessing property damage and the costs related to the accident. Insurance companies quickly get involved, and it becomes apparent that the aftermath of an accident has significant financial impact.”
To educate drivers on post-accident essentials, Barney lists the following five tips:
No. 1: Get a police report. It is essential that the attending officer completes a traffic accident report, which provides the cornerstone for evidence in court. “Eventually, you will need to submit information and evidence to an insurance company, the other party, and, possibly, the court,” noted Barney. “A traffic accident report is a detailed account of the accident, taken down at a time when all facts and circumstances were fresh in the memories of those involved. This becomes invaluable if the parties proceed to court.”
No. 2: Seek medical attention. It is imperative to seek appropriate medical attention after an accident. “Failure to receive medical treatment could damage your auto accident claim,” stressed Barney. “The failure to promptly obtain medical attention can result in causation and evidence issues down the road. An insurance company will closely review your medical treatment after an accident, and gaps indicate the need to ask further questions or deduct a certain amount of funds from the claim amount.”
No. 3: Be 100% honest. When completing insurance paperwork and forms, one must be upfront and truthful about all information provided. “Any dishonesty could result in the denial of a claim or the cancellation of a policy,” stated Barney.
No. 4: Refrain from discussing the accident. There are certain forums where discussing one’s accident could be detrimental to their case. “You should not provide a statement and account of the accident to an insurance company until talking to a lawyer,” claimed Barney. “All information you provide to an insurance company will be analyzed and questioned.”
No. 5: Engage a qualified attorney. Legal advice is most helpful and robust when provided early on in one’s auto accident case. “It allows the lawyer a better opportunity to develop a strategy, assess gaps in information or evidence, and build a stronger case on your behalf,” concluded Barney. “Failing to engage a lawyer soon after your accident can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your auto accident claim.”
About Scott R. Barney, Esq.
Scott R. Barney primarily focuses on personal injury, DUI defense, and general civil litigation. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. For more information, please call (757) 607-4925, or visit http://barneyinjurylaw.com The law office is located at 1551 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.
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