What to Do After a Colorado Car Accident
Colorado auto accidents will come when you least expect them. It is not something you plan for. They will take you completely off guard. You may feel a lot of pain, frustration, stress, and maybe even anger at the at-fault driver and insurance companies.
We want to help you make the right decisions after a car accident, both for your health and your injury settlement. One of the best reasons to hire the TrueCounsel team is to allow us to handle all the details of your personal injury claim. It is quite easy to allow your emotions to overcome your decision making.
It is understandable to want to get a quick settlement and move on with your life, but the settlement will be far less if you wait to hire the car accident attorneys at TrueCounsel. Just as bad, you may devalue your settlement without even realizing it.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Sticking to the tips below can ensure that you have a claim against the at-fault party, as well as maintaining the value of your claim. It is all too often that injured victims do the opposite of what they should and cheat themselves out of a legitimate case or devalue their settlement.
FIRST: Seek medical attention right away. There is no excuse to not go straight to the ER via ambulance and be thoroughly evaluated by medical professionals. It helps to prove that the injuries you suffered were caused by the car accident. Seeking medical attention quickly also boosts the value of your case. If you have not gone yet, at least go to an emergency clinic.
SECOND: If the police were not called to the scene of the accident, report the incident immediately to the police department. Fill out an accident report and provide as much information as you can. Include things such as traffic, road conditions, the weather, and be incredibly detailed in how the accident happened. Also include contact information from witnesses, as well as insurance information from the at-fault driver.
THIRD: If an accident report was filled out by a responding police officer, document in your own words how the accident happened. Discuss whether road or traffic conditions played a role, as well as if the weather contributed. Explain in detail how you were following safety rules and were riding cautiously. Likewise, explain in detail what the at-fault driver did to cause the collision and what safety rules they broke.
FOURTH: Get the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses. If you spoke to them, write down what they said about the accident. Your attorney will ask them to provide a written statement about what they witnessed. Their testimony could make or break your case when it comes time to negotiate a settlement. Without any witnesses, it may be your word against the at-fault driver.
FIFTH: If you believe road conditions contributed to the cause of your car accident, take pictures of the road defects. Whether it is uneven pavement, large potholes, etc., this evidence could put some of the fault on the city of Colorado Springs or Denver. Do not put yourself in danger, though. Your attorney can have an expert go out and take the pictures.
SIXTH: Before your car gets fixed or totaled out, take lots of pictures of the damage. The pictures can be great evidence to show how severe the impact was.
SEVENTH: Do not speak with any insurance employees, especially an insurance adjuster. They will attempt to have you agree to a recorded statement. They are trained to ask questions that imply you were at-fault in causing the accident. Insurance companies are not your friends and are not looking out for your best interest.
EIGHTH: Read the 10 Mistakes to Avoid guide to learn about more potential mistakes you could be making that is causing the value of your case to drop.
Get the help you need right now.
Mistakes to Avoid Making After a Car Accident
Mistake #1: Lying, Exaggerating, And Misrepresenting
It is plain and simple. If you tell a lie, whether it is to the responding police officer, an insurance adjuster, or to your own healthcare professional, you greatly risk destroying the value of your case. If you lie about one small thing, who is to say you are not lying about everything else? Injury victims that deserve to be compensated after an accident can cheat themselves out of getting a fair settlement by telling even a single lie.
The same goes for exaggerating, such as saying your injuries are more severe than they really are. Defense attorneys look for every possible opportunity they can to claim you deserve less than what your attorney is attempting to settle the case for, and they can easily do so when you lie.
Mistake #2: Talking About Your Case
You should avoid talking about your Colorado personal injury case, including how the car accident happened, the injuries you suffered, and your treatment plan. A reasonable exception applies to those closest in your life. Why? Because there is always a chance that someone misinterprets what they heard, doesn’t understand, or simply forgets. Imagine the telephone game you played as a kid!
The reason this could become an issue is if the insurance adjuster or defense attorney talks to them at some point. If that person you spoke ends up not communicating what you told them accurately, then it could look like you lying or misrepresenting something. This goes back to rule #1, never lie. You could get caught up in what looks like a lie just because of this other person you spoke with.
Mistake #3: Posting on Social Media Sites
This will not be a popular one in this day and age, but you must limit your posts to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. We all know that minor injuries can cause a major impact on your life, but that doesn’t mean you will be completely bedridden for the next year. You may still be able to get out of the house and enjoy what the world has to offer, even if that means being in constant pain. At the end of the day, you can spend the day in pain sitting on the couch watching Opera or spend it attending a craft show. If you were to post on Facebook about the great day you had and all the great knick-knacks you bought, you will probably leave out the fact you were in pain.
Some judges are allowing the defense attorney to require plaintiffs to turn over their social media data if a lawsuit is filed. If the defendant’s attorney goes back to sift through this data and comes across this post, they will then try to show that you weren’t in pain since you could attend that craft show or at least not in as much pain as you are claiming. You do not need to avoid social media entirely, just be very careful and think twice about any posts you make and the impact it could have on the value of your case later on.
Mistake #4: Signing Settlement and Medical Releases
The at-fault party’s insurance company will attempt to have you sign various documents very early on in the process of your claim. They will claim that you are required to sign these documents to help them evaluate your claim and provide you with a higher settlement. The truth is, they are only doing it because it’s in their best interest. The insurance companies are not on your side.
The first an insurer will have you sign is a medical release. This will allow them to order all of your medical records, even those that are not related to the accident. If you happen to have some medical history that you would rather keep private, signing the medical release is not something you want to sign. Your medical records that are not related to the injuries you suffered in the accident are none of the insurance company’s business and it is your right to keep them private.
The next thing they will have you sign is a release. A release is a contract that states you are agreeing to never sue or bring a claim against the at-fault party again. You are forever giving up your right to accept another settlement, regardless of whether you end up needing more medical treatment. Insurance companies will have you sign the release after they make a very low-ball offer. Again, if the insurance company is asking you to do something, it is for their benefit, not yours.
Mistake #5: Taking Pictures of Your Injuries
It is one thing to tell someone that you are injured, it is another when you show them pictures of your injuries. This is some of the most valuable evidence there is to show the impact the accident had on you. It also puts into perspective how serious your injuries were.
If you fail to take pictures of your accidents, the insurance adjuster is only going to know you through the medical records. It is difficult to know exactly how severe an accident was just by what doctor’s note in the medical records. Showing pictures will greatly assist your attorney in settling your case for a higher amount.
Mistake #6: Renewing Sporting Licenses
In a Colorado personal injury accident, you are claiming that you are experiencing pain and are unable to do the things you once did. We all know that doesn’t mean you will be bedridden, and you still can get out of the house once and while and try to enjoy life. That may include renewing sporting licenses, such as a fishing license.
Depending on your case, this may hurt the value of your case in the eyes of the insurance company. They may learn that you renewed a sporting license and then claim that you are not injured because you can continue to be active and enjoy life.
Check with your attorney before renewing any sporting licenses. It is best to ask and avoid the potential risk that you may devalue your case.
Mistake #7: Not Staying in Contact with Your Attorney
This is one of the worst mistakes you can make because your attorney is working for you and is going to need your participation from time to time. He will need you to give him certain documents, such as your tax records if you are making a wage loss claim.
Also, if a lawsuit has to be filed, there are strict deadlines that must be met throughout the litigation process. Things like written discovery, producing documents, and the taking of your deposition. If you miss these deadlines, you greatly risk your case getting dismissed by the judge and losing out on recovering any money at all.
Mistake #8: Giving a “Recorded Statement”
A recorded statement is a telephone conversation with an insurance adjuster. They will claim they are just gathering the facts of the case so they can assist you in offering a settlement. The truth is that they are trained to ask complex, deceptive, and ambiguous questions to get you to admit the accident was partially your fault.
You are not required to give a recorded statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company, and it will in no way benefit your case. It can only hurt!
Mistake #9: Agreeing to an Independent Medical Exam
If you are making an uninsured or underinsured insurance claim, you will likely have to submit to an independent medical exam. This is where you will go to a doctor of the insurance company’s choosing and the doctor will examine you regarding the injuries you sustained in the Colorado personal injury accident.
The truth is that these exams are not independent. The doctors only work for the insurance companies and are never neutral or fair. They will attempt to claim that you did not suffer the injuries you are claiming and/or that you are not as injured as you claim to be.
While you will need to agree to an IME, you should not do so until hiring an attorney. They will prep you on how to deal with the voluminous questions the doctor will ask you and how to increase the value of your case, not decrease it. Which are what IME doctors are paid to do. Insurance companies are not your friend, and the same goes for IME doctors.
Mistake #10: Getting Rid of Valuable Evidence
Anytime you get rid of evidence that may be admissible at a trial, you risk the defense filing a motion that will allow the judge to instruct the jury that they may presume the evidence is harmful to your case.
For example, in a slip and fall case on water, the defense may argue that the reason you slipped is because the types of shoes you were wearing contributed to the cause of the accident. If you throw out the shoes and do not remember the name of them, it will be more difficult to defend against it. Always keep anything you think may be valuable. If in doubt, ask your attorney what you should do.
Attorneys Who Care
After your Denver or Colorado Springs car accident, you will likely feel a mix of anger, confusion, worry, and pain and suffering. Enough is going on in your life to worry about, and the last thing anyone needs to happen is a car wreck. The attorneys at TrueCounsel are passionate about getting you your life back as quickly as possible.
Different types of vehicle accidents will require varying legal steps to protect your rights as an innocent victim. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries, and that is where we come in. Product defects can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, as well as a drunk driver running a red light. Our attorneys are specialized in handling any type of accident you may be involved in.
Insurance companies do not care about you, nor do they care whether the offer they are making is fair. All they care about is their bottom line and settling for as little money as they think they can get away with. The sad reality is that most Colorado personal injury law firms do not care all that much more about their clients than the insurance companies, and they will often settle for far less than what the client deserves. That is not the case with the attorneys at TrueCounsel. We will not stop fighting until we get you every penny that you deserve!
Frequently Asked Questions After Car Wrecks
Not everyone needs to hire a Colorado car accident attorney after their wreck. With that being said, almost everyone will greatly benefit from hiring a legal team to fight for them. The law surrounding personal injury cases is overly complex and at times, difficult to navigate. The attorneys at TrueCounsel devote a substantial amount of time to staying current on the ever-changing legal horizon.
When it comes to negotiating your case, there is no substitute for a seasoned and experienced attorney with top-notch negotiating skills. They know how to increase the value of your settlement fairly and ethically. They will ensure that you get every penny that you deserve, bar none.
It doesn’t cost you a single penny to hire a TrueCounsel attorney, and you do not have to pay TrueCounsel anything while your case is ongoing. TrueCounsel will take a percentage of the settlement we can get for you once your case is complete. This allows absolutely anyone to be able to afford to hire us. If we cannot get you a settlement, then you owe us nothing.
Most attorneys charge an hourly fee that they bill every two weeks to a month. This makes hiring an attorney expensive. Also, you still have to pay them even if it does not turn out in your favor! Our attorneys not only work on your case without billing you an hourly rate, but we also front all of the costs of the case.
This is why doing a free consultation is always a good idea. You have absolutely nothing to lose when you meet with a personal injury attorney at TrueCounsel to discuss your case.
To determine whether you have a car accident case you will need to understand what negligence is. This will require your attorney to prove the other driver owed you a legal duty to operate their car safely. This is rarely an issue in car collision cases. Next, your attorney will prove the driver breached that duty by failing to operate their vehicle safely. If the other driver ran a red light, proving fault will not be an issue. In other cases, it will be more difficult. Sometimes this is simply because there are no witnesses to corroborate how the accident happened.
In most Colorado personal injury cases the focus of the claim is on your injuries. Your attorney will devote a lot of time showing that your injuries were caused by the car wreck. As you can imagine, this is easy sometimes and very difficult in other cases. If you were a healthy and active person before the accident, it will not be too difficult to prove your injuries are related to the accident. But consider if you had a prior back injury before the accident, and then re-injured your back in the collision. It will be a little harder to show how much more serious your back injury is now after the accident.
If you have any questions or concerns about whether you have a case, there is only one way to find out! Contact your TrueCounsel team today and schedule a free, no-obligation, consultation.
How you pay for your medical treatment after a Colorado car accident will no doubt be one of your biggest concerns moving forward, but it does not need to be. It is rather easy for us to arrange for your treatment to be paid by health insurance, or by what is called a medical lien.
A lien is essentially an interest-free loan that the medical provider gives you. When your attorney settles your case, the medical provider will get paid back out of the settlement. It is important to know that if you are unable to get a settlement, say because you were at fault in causing the accident, you will still have to pay back the lien.