Today I want to share about five tips to consider if you’ve been in a car accident in Middlebury or Addison County, Vermont.
If you’ve recently been in a car accident in Middlebury, there are a few things that you’ll need to know in order to make sure that you get a fair outcome for your claim.
1. Try to avoid talking to the insurance adjuster for the other driver.
Auto insurance adjusters would have you believe that it’s vitally important that you talk to them before they can adjust your claim and pay you fairly.
In reality, that’s not true.
In fact, they rarely use your statements as anything other than a reason to deny or reduce the amount that they pay you for your claim.
Almost all insurers who handle car accident claims use computerized programs which input data from your medical records and other documents into a formula that spits out a number which tells the adjuster how much they can pay for your claim.
These adjusters aren’t interested in hearing from you about how hard things have been or the effect of the injury has had on your life. Instead, they’re listening carefully for admissions of fault or comparative fault. In other words, ways to reduce or deny your claim.
2. Contact emergency services.
Many people jump out of a car right after an accident and proclaim “I’m fine,” only to feel racked with pain in the hours and days afterward.
What happens instead of getting an emergency response from medics or officers, people will go right home.
And this can result in a significant delay or gap in treatment that an insurance company can use against you when you make your claim later on.
In almost every case, it makes sense to call the police and an ambulance to respond to a car crash. These professionals may observe things about your medical condition or the crash’s circumstances which can be very important to your claim down the road to recovery.
The Vermont State Police, for instance, are experienced when it comes to accident investigation and reconstruction. And the emergency staff at Porter Hospital have seen many people over the years who’ve been involved in car accidents; together, they’ll make sure that you get the care that you need and accurately document what happened.
3. Focus on your recovery.
The truth is, in the days following an accident, you really can be thinking too much about your personal injury claim.
Of course, it’s important that you get photographs of the scene and make sure that the circumstances surrounding the crash are accurately documented. But in reality, the best thing that you can do for your personal injury claim is to focus on getting well.
Follow the advice of your care providers, if they recommend a consult, make the appointment, if they suggest home exercises, do them.
Don’t miss appointments without a very good reason. Not only will you get better more quickly, but along the way, you’ll be proving to the insurance company and maybe a jury that you’re invested in getting well. And that’s good for your credibility and good for your case.
4. Use a video or written injury diary and document your recovery.
An accident is something most people want to forget, but if you’re presenting a claim or a lawsuit for personal injury there are going to be some memories that you’re going to want to have access to down the road.
In most cases, you won’t get a chance to tell your side of the story until many months or even years after the accident. By then, some of the darkest days will be long behind you. It can be really hard to conjure up those memories to testify about them effectively.
A short diary entry about a special event missed, a video of your first steps after surgery can make a huge difference. Even some pictures of your first hike up Chipman Hill after the accident can go a long way toward recreating some of those memories and make for a more effective presentation down the road.
5. Avoid using social media.
Not using social media can be a hard trap to avoid, but trust me, if you make a claim for personal injury, everyone from the insurance adjuster to the jurors are going to be reading your profile.
While you can and should make your privacy settings as tight as possible, you are not allowed to delete or remove any posts on social media which have anything to do with the accident or your recovery. This is a rule of law that the courts interpret very broadly, and if you violate it, it can have a strong negative impact on the outcome of your case.
In all honesty, your best bet is to avoid the subject of your accident or recovery altogether on social media.
And finally, a bonus tip: talk to an injury lawyer.
My final tip is short and to the point, just talk to a lawyer. Often consultation is free and while not every case requires hiring a lawyer, you can often get some guidance and suggestions to handle your own claim and make the most of it.