By Attorney Timothy J. Kamper
Phoenix is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States and, unfortunately, the number of serious automobile accidents has increased proportionately with its growth. Here are some important things you should know if you are involved in an accident in the Valley.
Accidents – What you should do — and what you shouldn’t do: As an accident victim you are at an immediate disadvantage as a result of injury and confusion at the scene.
There are several things you can do immediately to help yourself:
1) ask witnesses that come to your aid for their name and phone number;
2) take photographs of the vehicles at the accident scene if you are able, or if not ask someone at the scene if they will,
3) make sure the investigating officer understands your side of the story,
4) Call the police – never agree to a request by the driver at fault for the accident to not get the police involved! You definitely want the police to document the facts of the accident.
If the paramedics offer you treatment at the scene, let them do so. You may want to just go home and get away from the unpleasant situation, but you need to listen to your body and treat your injuries. Therefore, you must make sure you take the ambulance to the hospital and get checked out at the emergency room.
One thing insurance companies look for is lack of documentation. If you don’t go to the emergency room urgent care center or to a physician on the day of the accident they may use that fact against you when it comes time to negotiate a settlement.
Follow up with your physician and give your he or she detailed information regarding the accident and your injuries. If physical therapy is prescribed, take advantage of it. Don’t be afraid to ask your physician questions about your injury and symptoms. There is no such thing as a silly question when dealing with accident related injuries and their consequences.
Don’t stop treating before it is time; accident related injuries have a tendency to wax and wane and then come back when least expected. Finally, understand the realities of treatment that is “no cost to you.” All that means is that the provider will probably file a lien against the proceeds of your accident case seeking payment out of the proceeds, which means less money for you at settlement.
Remember, the Insurance Carrier processes thousands of claims a year and is in a position to take advantage of your lack of experience in ways you can’t even imagine.
It is advisable to contact an attorney before you contact the adjuster in order to “level the playing field”. We do not charge for an initial office, telephone or internet consultation and you will not pay a fee until the case is settled or won at trial.
Costs, such as charges by medical providers for records or reports are advanced by the firm, but are the client’s responsibility.
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Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney
Kamper Estrada LLP
1 E. Camelback Road, Suite 550
Phoenix, AZ 85012