What to Do After a Car Accident
If you’re injured in a Michigan car accident, it is important that you act promptly in order to protect your rights to: 1) no-fault insurance benefits and 2) a potential liability claim against the at-fault driver.
Time is critical after a Michigan auto accident, for several reasons. One main reason is that the insurance company for the negligent driver will quickly conduct an investigation, to begin building a defense to any legal claim. Therefore, if you sustain a car accident injury, you must counter this effort by taking the appropriate action — and do so in a timely fashion.
Here are some important steps follow if you are seriously injured in a Michigan car accident.
Have a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Initiate an Investigation
As quickly as possible, arrange for a car accident attorney in Michigan to investigate the crash. As part of this investigation, the lawyer will need a copy of your Michigan auto accident report, so be sure to order it right away from the police department that responded to the collision.
The lawyer’s investigation should include: interviewing all witnesses, photographing the accident scene and all vehicles involved in the crash, taking measurements at the scene, collecting physical evidence at the scene, interviewing police officers, etc.
Photograph Your Injuries and Document Your Treatment after the Car Accident
Visible injuries such as lacerations, burns, surgical scarring or other disfigurement should be clearly photographed. Additionally, photographs or videos should be taken of certain kinds of medical treatment (e.g., inpatient hospitalizations, physical therapy, burn treatment, etc.).
DO NOT Talk to Investigators or Adjusters Representing the Other Driver Involved in the Car Accident
The insurance company for the at-fault driver will be conducting an investigation soon after the accident. One of the first things that insurance investigators typically do in connection with an investigation is contact the victim and request that the victim give a written or recorded statement about the collision. DO NOT give any such statements to representatives of the other driver’s auto insurance company without first consulting an attorney specializing in Michigan car accidents and personal injury litigation. Just like the warning given by police to criminal suspects: “Anything you say can — and will — be used against you.”
DO NOT Sign Medical Authorizations (except those requested by your own insurance company)
Oftentimes, an insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver in a car accident will ask a victim to sign a medical authorization release form. This form permits the insurance adjuster to obtain all the victim’s medical records and speak with the victim’s physicians. NEVER sign a medical authorization release form without first consulting an attorney who specializes in auto accidents or personal injury law.
DO NOT Engage in Settlement Negotiations Without Obtaining Advice from an Experienced Attorney
Many times the insurance company representing the driver who’s at fault will approach an auto accident victim and attempt to settle a potential lawsuit against the negligent driver, in exchange for a release of liability. If you are injured in a car accident, DO NOT enter into any settlement negotiations without first talking to an Michigan car accident attorney who is experienced in handling auto negligence claims.