The moments and days following a car accident can by both scary and confusing, especially if you or a loved one has been injured.  However, there are some important steps to take to speed the recovery process, both medically and financially. 

These simple acts could help your process to receive a settlement from the insurance company run smoothly and quickly.  Consider the following important steps to take following a car accident.

Seek Immediate Help

In the moments after a car accident, the most important focus should be the health and safety of everyone involved.  Pull over to the side of the road, if you are able, and call 911 as soon as possible.  Once the 911 dispatcher assesses your needs, a law enforcement officer will be dispatched, as well as an ambulance, if needed.  The officer will interview both drivers and witnesses to complete an accident report.  He may also issue a citation to the at fault driver.  

If emergency medical vehicles, either an ambulance, fire truck, or both, they will assess the injuries of everyone involved.  Be sure to be detailed in your description of pain or injury.  If your neck or back hurt even slightly, let the paramedics know.  Often, people with neck or back injuries following a crash don’t begin to feel significant pain until hours, or even days, after the crash.  Once you’ve been evaluated, the medical professionals will decide whether you may need a hospital visit for treatment or evaluation.

Document Everything

Documentation should begin at the scene and continue throughout the settlement process.  On the day of the accident, collect as much information as you can.  Collect the necessary information from the other driver, including full name, insurance information, the license plate number of the car, and contact information.  You may also want to ask for the contact number of any witnesses involved in the crash.  They are not legally required to provide you with that information, but it may be helpful during the settlement process later on.  Obtain a copy of the police report, and the officer’s name and badge number as well.  If you are able, take pictures of both the damage to your vehicle and any visible injuries you may have.

In the days following the accident, as you focus on restoring your health, it is important to keep accurate records.  Keep copies of all medical bills associated with your car accident injury.  It is also essential to provide medical records when asked by an attorney or insurance company.  These should include the extent of your injuries, but also a treatment plan and an estimation of when treatment may be complete.  In many cases, insurance companies will not settle an injury claim until all medical treatment has been provided.  

Hire an Attorney

The process to receive a settlement from an insurance company following an accident can be long and challenging.  While you aren’t required to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your case, it is often more beneficial to do so.  Insurance companies know that unrepresented victims may not be skilled in settlement and negotiations.  In addition, victims often don’t know how to determine a fair settlement amount for their case.  It’s typical for victims working without an attorney to receive much smaller settlements than those who have hired an attorney to represent them.  

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis.  This means that they won’t require any payment until you receive your settlement.  They have access to a network of experts that may be able to testify on your behalf, should the case go to trial.  They may also utilize investigators to gather more information which may help your case and potentially lead to a higher settlement amount.  More importantly, they can handle all aspects of your case while you focus on restoring your health.
Wait for Your Settlement

Depending on the specifics of your case, it could take months or even years to receive a settlement payout from the insurance company.  Thankfully, if you’ve collected and recorded all important documentation, and if you’ve hired a skilled personal injury attorney, the process should run a bit more smoothly, as there won’t be any lengthy wait time to obtain documents.  Most personal injury cases reach a settlement before the case ever goes to trial, but if all parties cannot come to an agreement, a trial may be necessary.

In the meantime, you likely have medical bills piling up.  If you’ve been out of work for any length of time because of your injury, you may also have unpaid living expenses or a shrinking bank account.  Either way, the thought of not having money when you need it can be frightening.  Fortunately, you do have some options.  Many accident victims are able to receive financial assistance through a friend or family member, but this might not always be possible.  Others may try to secure a bank loan to cover costs, but that too, can be challenging, especially if you are unable to work.  A lawsuit settlement cash advance may be an option to consider as well.

Pre-settlement cash advances were designed to help ease your financial burdens while you wait for your personal injury case to settle.  The money you receive with a car accident case cash advance is not a loan, but rather a non-recourse investment in your case, where the funding provider simply buys the right to a portion of your settlement once it’s received.  Most funding providers offer this money risk free, which means if you don’t receive a settlement, you owe them nothing.  

These pre-settlement cash advances may not be the right choice for everyone—they come with a higher interest rate than a typical bank loan—but they may be the best solution for you to gain financial stability while you wait for your personal injury case to settle.  If you are working with an attorney, have a pending personal injury case, and are at least 18 years old, you likely qualify for funding.  In many cases, personal injury victims can have the money they need within a few days of consultation.

Following a car accident, your safety is the number one priority.  Once you are in a safe place, call 911.  Cooperate fully with the officer on scene, and report all medical issues to the paramedics.  Next, if you are able, document as much as you can.  From pictures of the crash to the other driver’s information, all of this will be important in the days and months to come.  Finally, contact a personal injury attorney and begin the process to receive a settlement.  These steps will assist you as you wait for the money you deserve.