What To Do After A Car Accident Checklist: 9 Step Guide
Save this useful what to do after a car accident checklist with important medical advice and lawsuit timelines
Immediately after a car accident, there are so many important considerations to make. Our car accident attorneys have highlighted the most time-sensitive precautions below.
If you’d like to speak with a car accident attorney, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. There’s no fee or obligation.
What To Do After A Car Accident Checklist
- Contact the police
- Seek medical treatment now and if you experience new symptoms later
- Report ALL injuries to first responders and emergency room personnel
- Never give statements to an insurance adjuster or sign a release
- Notify your insurance company immediately and file an application for benefits
- Obtain a copy of your police report
- Attend all medical appointments
- Keep good records
- Check your auto insurance policy for very specific notice requirements
After a car accident in Michigan, a car accident victim should definitely contact the nearest police department and file a police report.
After a car accident it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible even if you feel your injuries are only minor. Many injuries that initially appear to be insignificant can later cause substantial pain and discomfort. Doctors call these injuries “masked injuries,” and they must be documented immediately after a car accident to prove they were caused by the accident and not some other event. It’s also important to return to your doctor if you experience any new symptoms that were not apparent during initial treatment.
After a car accident, it is extremely important that all personal injuries suffered as a result of the auto accident are well-documented. It’s also especially important to tell emergency room doctors if you experienced any loss of consciousness. Insist that medical personnel record all of your injuries. Although they may initially appear to be minor, be sure to report symptoms resulting from the accident such as:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Blurred vision
- Problems with short-term memory or concentration
- Emotional changes
Never give “statements” to an auto insurance claims adjuster after a car accident. And never sign a release or allow the insurance adjuster to look at the car damage without the presence of a car accident attorney.
Why? Claims adjusters often try to get recorded statements early trying to minimize pain and injuries. This is for use later in court when trying to undermine the car accident victim. Often, when there is low car damage, insurance adjusters try to claim that no one could have been seriously injured in the car accident.
Even limited property damage releases will contain unrelated language releasing all personal injuries suffered from a car accident, whether known or unknown. Many people rush into signing these documents without having the release language reviewed by a car accident attorney, and very well could lose their right to sue the negligent driver later – or receive No-Fault insurance benefits – for their car accident-related injuries.
After a car accident you should immediately notify your auto insurance company of your car accident. Then you must file an application for No-Fault benefits.
In Michigan, there’s a strict one-year time limit to notify your own No-Fault insurance company of your car accident, and to file your application for No-Fault benefits. This is referred to as a “first-party” auto accident case (There’s also a three-year time limit to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver’s car insurance company for pain and suffering; referred to as a “third-party” auto accident case).
To get your No-Fault insurance benefits after a car accident, you must apply with your own insurance company by filling out an application for benefits. You can request this form from your auto insurance company. Filing the application for benefits form is extremely important – and essential for protecting your No-Fault rights. This form is required to receive five important benefits:
- Medical benefits
- Wage loss
- Replacement services (household services)
- Mileage reimbursement for medical appointments
- Attendant care benefits (nursing services)
Contact the police department where your accident occurred to order a copy of your police report. Many reports can be ordered online.
It’s imperative that you continue treatment for your personal injuries, whether it be physical therapy and occupational therapy, or routine follow-ups with your family doctor. It’s very important that you recover. Additionally, insurance adjusters often contend that an accident victim who fails to attend his or her doctor’s appointment must not be experiencing pain. Read why getting the right car accident medical care at the right time is important.
- Document all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, over the counter medications, laboratory services, physical therapy, hospital visits, treatments, medical documents and x-rays.
- Note the date each service was provided and the amount you were charged.
- Keep a diary of your daily pain, discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, tenderness, inconvenience, etc.
- Write down how your personal injuries have impacted your daily life and relationships.
- Take photos of all of your injuries, as soon after the accident as possible.
- Keep copies of all medical bills, medical records and other documents.
It’s best to have a car accident attorney look over your insurance policy after a car accident for any fine print that could put your rights in jeopardy.
You should also check your Michigan insurance policy for VERY specific notification requirements pertaining to your car accident. In addition to the legislative deadlines (of one year to file a first- party case for No-Fault benefits and three years to file a third-party pain and suffering case with the wrong-doer’s insurance company), many auto insurance policies pose even stricter notification requirements. For instance, one policy requires the accident victim notify the auto insurance company within 30 days for hit-and-run car accidents.
Our car accident attorneys have seen far too many unadvised clients assume that their auto insurance policies were consistent with Michigan No-Fault timelines. In many cases, the contractual language of the policy and the filing limits were far more restrictive. If car accident victims fail to adhere to these notification requirements on time, they can lose important coverage.
Protect yourself. Call Michigan Auto Law.
You can only benefit by contacting a Michigan car accident attorney to review your circumstances. For a free case evaluation, call (800) 777-0028 or fill out our consultation form. There’s absolutely no fee and no obligation.