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Alabama Auto Accident Checklist

Posted on December 7, 2015

Hundreds of Alabama citizens are involved in an auto accident everyday…some severe, some minor. Regardless of the circumstances, there are certain do’s and don’t’s to remember. So, here are the top five do’s and don’ts:

DO’S:

1. Call the police and get an accident report filled out. Do not rely on the other driver to “make it right”. Only by memorializing the accident by way of an official report will you be able to make a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance carrier.

2. Get checked out by a doctor or hospital immediately after the accident. You may or may not be injured in the accident. It’s best to at least get checked out by your family physician. Without medical care soon after the accident, many insurance adjusters are skeptical about paying compensation for injuries that manifest themselves months after the accident.

3. Notify your insurance carrier. Even if the other driver has auto accident insurance, it may be that your insurance has to pay for certain things while the other insurance carrier investigates the claim. Plus, your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage may be needed if your injuries are severe.

4. Keep all receipts and expense documents. At some point, you will need to “prove” to the adjuster what you have lost out of pocket due to the accident. Most adjusters will not take your word for this. Items such as mileage reimbursement, co-pays, deductibles, etc. will need to be documented.

5. For all post-accident medical treatment, mention the auto accident as a part of your history. Adjusters will frequently disregard compensation for medical visits where no history of an auto accident has been given.

DON’TS:

1. Don’t give the adjuster a recorded statement without first talking to an attorney! Most adjusters will try to obtain information that faults you for the accident. Or, they will ask questions designed to minimize your injuries. Either way, most of the statement will not be aimed at helping your cause.

2. Don’t delay medical treatment! As mentioned above, the sooner you get treated the better. Large gaps in medical treatment are red flags for adjusters and juries.

3. Don’t settle before you are completely done treating and are fully aware of the extent of your claimable damages. Once the release is signed, your claim is forever barred. Also, seek consultation with an attorney before signing any release.

4. Don’t borrow money from the TV legal funding marketers. These companies typically charge exorbitant interest rates, such that the money you have to pay back can double within one year!

5. Don’t delay in hiring an attorney! Especially in serious injury claims, the post-accident investigation is crucial in establishing fault on the other driver. A good Birmingham car accident lawyer will do a background check on the at-fault driver, take statements from the witnesses,  preserve key evidence, photograph the accident scene, etc.