Question

What should I do after a car accident in West Virginia?

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Travis Griffith - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Travis Griffith

Located in Charleston, WVGriffith Law Center, PLLC

Charleston, WV
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Answer

If you have been the victim of a car crash, it is critical that you take the appropriate steps to increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation. Seeking medical attention, waiting to accept a settlement, speaking with an attorney and following work restrictions can be key to maximizing your claim. 

  1. Seek Medical Treatment 

A spike in adrenaline can greatly affect your judgment. After a crash, you may not notice any physical injuries. However, it is important to remember that not all injuries are visible. Symptoms may be delayed by hours or even days such as with brain injuries. Even waiting a day or two to seek treatment can affect your ability to recover damages. 

After submitting your claim, your insurance company will launch an investigation to determine whether your injuries were caused by the crash. If you wait to seek treatment, they may deny your claim and blame your injuries on an unrelated event. Following up with your primary care physician and taking photographs of your injuries can help to substantiate your claim. 

    2. Wait Before Accepting A Settlement 

You may receive a settlement offer from the other party’s insurance quickly after the accident. Though the amount may be enticing, chances are you are being offered an amount far less than you are entitled to receive, and the insurance company knows it. The representative will pressure you to accept the offer upfront so that you release them and their insured from any future claims.

This can be a bad idea for several reasons, including unforeseen future care. What if you require ongoing medical treatment? Who will pay for future medical bills? If you release the insurance company from liability, you will be held solely responsible. Personal health insurance company often does not pay for treatment of motor vehicle accident injuries and you will be left to foot the bill.

   3. Contact A Lawyer

After the accident, both insurance companies will be eager to speak with you. A lawyer serves as a liaison between you and the insurance companies so that you can focus on recovery.

A lawyer can also help to prevent your medical bills from going to collections. Until a doctor states you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), the insurance company will not pay your medical bills. An attorney can issue a letter of protection to prevent providers from billing you directly for the services and tell providers they will be paid when the case is over.

If your case cannot be settled, a lawyer will file suit against the at-fault driver and their insurance company to ensure your bills get paid. In preparation for litigation, an attorney can spearhead the discovery process and gather evidence to support your claim.

    4. Follow Work Restrictions

Your doctor may put you on light duty or full work restrictions. If you are completely unable to work, you may be entitled to receive wage loss replacement for time missed. However, if you return to work and do not adhere to your doctor’s restrictions, an insurance company may question the extent of your injuries.

Furthermore, if you return to work before the doctor says it is a good idea, but later you are unable to fulfill your work duties, you may not receive compensation for time missed. Adhering to work restrictions can help you focus on recovery and be compensated for any time you take off work.

Do Not Give Up The Fight For Fair Compensation

Staying proactive after a crash is crucial. Do not let insurance companies bully you into settling for less than you are entitled to receive. Seeking medical attention, waiting to accept a settlement before speaking with an attorney and following your doctor’s orders can be key to building a successful claim.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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