**/ The following guest post is contributed by Matt Conner. /**
Getting involved in a car crash can be distressing, shocking, numbing and confusing. It is the moment when emotions are running high and you find it hard to think straight. But remember your actions at this juncture can make or mar your insurance claim, if you ever were to make one.
Minor car crashes do not cause serious injuries. If you are involved in a rear-ending accident or a fender-bender chances are you will not suffer anything more severe than a whiplash or minor bruises. But in major crashes, injuries are extensive and often fatal.
Car accident claims help victims offset the financial burden of the crash and try to bring normalcy back in their lives.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind if you are ever involved in a car accident.
What Types of Injuries Are Commonly Seen in Car Accidents?
Head and back injuries are common in seated drivers and passengers of vehicles involved in high-speed collisions. Neck and chest injuries, internal bleeding and damage to internal organs are also found in victims of major car crashes.
Head injuries occur in collisions when the head is hit against steering wheel, dashboard or windows forcefully. This can result in brain injury or concussion when the brain moves back and forth within the skull. Traumatic brain injuries result in long-term or permanent damage to brain cells affecting cognitive and behavioral functions. Back injuries that damage the spinal cord also affect the neuromotor functions of the body.
Extensive and expensive medical treatment will be required to treat these conditions. Those involved in massive vehicle wreck are also often left with permanent disabilities and other impairments.
A successful car accident claim will help you be compensated for medical expenses, disability, loss of an extremity, loss of income, potential loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life and consortium, and pain and suffering.
But remember that there are many factors that affect your compensation for personal injury. Every driver should be aware of these in order to avoid mistakes that may have far-reaching consequences.
Factors Considered by Claims Adjuster
Your actions immediately after the crash have a strong bearing over the outcome of your claim. It is important that you do not act rashly and stay calm in order to preserve the evidence required to make an insurance claim.
1. Police Report
No matter how minor the accident, it is important that you report it to the police at once. If no one is injured most police stations will not bother to send officers to the site. But regardless of the outcome it is necessary your report the incident.
If the traffic is slowing or the crash is holding up traffic, report that as well.
If an officer arrives on the scene he will make a police report that contains a detailed account and photographs of the accident, drivers’ and witnesses’ names and contact information, and designation of person who appears to be at fault for the crash. The report will also document damages to vehicles or other property, and injuries sustained by those involved in the crash.
Note down the service number of the report and ask for a copy a few days later. The report will help strengthen your claim and is an important piece of supporting evidence.
2. Injuries Sustained
Documented evidence of injuries sustained will help immensely when you make a claim.
It is critical that you do not delay in seeking medical help. Go to a hospital and get treated for your injuries. This will help prove the seriousness of injuries sustained in the accident.
If there are any pre-existing injuries, ensure you have documented evidence to prove that the condition deteriorated or injuries worsened after the accident. Ask your doctor to take X-rays and scans of injured area to help compare pre-accident and post-accident condition.
If you delay in getting treatment it will be hard to prove cause-effect relationship between the crash and your injuries. Also, remember to collect bills and treatment records from the hospital. You have to furnish them as supporting evidence to your claim.
3. Your Statements
As mentioned earlier, a car crash can cause panic, distress and extreme emotions in those involved. But do watch your words because whatever you say can be used as evidence against you in court of law.
Never admit your fault, blame others, or make promises, and do not say anything that can worsen the situation or lead to heated arguments.
Speak to witnesses and note down their version of events, more so if it supports your stand. Also, ask for contact information so that you can get in touch with them if situation requires.
4. Documentation and Evidence
If you are filing a car accident claim ensure that you have documented evidence to support your statements. Medical bills and reports, evidence of lost days of work and income, and documents showing damage to property and deterioration in quality of life all can support your compensation claim.
So if you are planning to make a car accident claim, ensure that you have the supporting documents ready. Not only will your claim adjuster find it easier to arrive at a conclusion, but you will also get your payout quickly.
Car crashes can result in grievous injuries. A successful insurance claim can help you tide over the sudden financial burden that has fallen on your shoulders. If you are aware of the factors influencing success of claims, you will be better prepared for satisfy the requirements.