If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the first thought that may run through your head is, “Am I hurt?” Naturally, this concern will extend to others traveling with you and perhaps those in the other vehicle. The next thought that occurs to you might be, “Is this going to be expensive?” It is not an unreasonable question.
In fact, you probably already know an accident will cost you. When you think about medical expenses, damage to your vehicle, lost wages and other setbacks, it is wise to do everything you can even before you get behind the wheel of your car to avoid mistakes that may add to your financial pain.
There’s a lot you can control
If another driver is negligent or reckless and causes an accident that leaves you injured, there is often not much you can do to avoid it. However, you can be proactive by purchasing appropriate and adequate insurance coverage and examining your options for deductibles and premiums. You may prefer lower monthly premiums, but this means paying more out of pocket if you have an accident.
Whatever decisions you make, advisors cannot stress enough the importance of reading your policy and knowing what it means. Are there gaps that could be a problem? Are there available add-ons that would benefit you? Do you understand the exclusions? Knowing as much as you can about your policy will help you stand up for your rights if your insurer denies you coverage for a legitimate claim.
If you are in an accident
You can help yourself in other ways, too. There are actions you can take and avoid that will help if you need to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, for example:
- Never engage in risky behavior behind the wheel, such as distractions, drinking alcohol, speeding or other dangerous activities.
- Contact police immediately if you are in an accident.
- Make sure you seek a thorough medical exam following a collision.
- Never apologize to the other driver or imply you were at fault.
- Document the accident by taking pictures of both vehicles and collecting information from everyone involved and any witnesses.
- Be cautious when reporting the details of the accident to the insurance company.
In fact, many who are involved in accidents find it provides peace of mind to allow a skilled West Virginia attorney to handle the legal matters, such as dealing with the insurance companies. Your attorney will have experience and resources to fight to get you a fair settlement or to build a solid case to take to court to seek the compensation you need and deserve.