50% of people in an auto accident do not bother to get a police report, do I need one?

YES.  If you have been involved in a car accident it is essential.  Make sure the police are called and that all parties remain at the accident scene until the report is complete.  The police officer’s report can be critical to obtaining the insurance settlement you are entitled to. 

TIP: A car accident insurance claim without a police report will be incomplete and increase the risk of claim denial or a low settlement offer.  You need to include all possible information about your crash in order to receive full coverage.

There are potentially two claims that need to be filed, Car Repair and Medical Care.

Finding a car accident police report is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished by following a few steps:

  1. Call the number listed on the business card of the officer who responded to your accident and compiled the report.  If you did not get a business card, call the police station and ask for the officer who you worked with.
  2. When you speak to the officer responsible for your car accident report, explain to him who you are and give some details of the crash to help him remember.  If you leave a message, give a brief reason why you are calling, your name, and a number where you can be reached.
  3. If the officer is unable to help you, you can either speak to a receptionist with the police department or call your local courthouse and ask for a clerk.  Once you determine what department has your car accident police report on file, you may need to go to the police station or the courthouse to get a copy.  You may need to pay a fee.
  4. If you are unable to get the police accident report from either the courthouse or the police department, call your insurance company and the insurance company for the other driver to see if either insurer has it.  If so, ask for them to mail a copy to you. 
  5. You may need to be patient and persistent in your search for the police accident report, however, you should keep at it until you are able to get a copy.  The police accident report is a critical element to your insurance claim, and you will need to review it before taking action to recover insurance money.

What to Do with the Police Accident Report

Once you have a copy of the police report, you will need to review it and find out what the official version of events is.  It is likely the insurance company or the other driver will have a copy of the report – particularly for high value claims – so you should be prepared to use the report to support your version of events, or, if the car accident police report wrongly indicates you were at fault, to refute the officer's assessment of your accident.

 

If I have health insurance do I need medical payments coverage on my Auto Policy?

Health insurance typically pays for medical expenses related to your health. However; most healthcare policies do not cover injuries sustained in a car accident, which could leave a driver with high out-of-pocket expenses. Medical payments coverage could help offset those expenses, and would offer drivers additional peace of mind.  If your health insurance covers vehicle accidents, you'd likely still have to pay a co-pay or deductible before your insurer will start to pay.  MedPay can reimburse you for those deductibles and co-pays, as well as cover medical care not covered by your policy, therefore, allowing you the freedom to seek the type of care you choose.  You'll have to consider the extra cost of MedPay each month against the benefit.   The average coverage of MedPay ranges from $1000.00 - $25000.00 and the cost from $5.00 - $35.00 per month.  This information is offered for the state of California.

 

Do I need an attorney?

POSSIBLY.  Most insurance companies aim to protect their insured’s and to compensate them for damages. However, insurance companies also aim to keep costs down and reduce their overhead. Since your agenda and your insurance company’s agenda may not perfectly align, hiring an attorney can be one way to insure you have an advocate for your interests.

An attorney who is experienced in handling car accident injuries will be familiar with the laws and can help you make sure you don’t do anything that jeopardizes your rights.  There are a slew of potential obstacles to navigate when you have been a car accident and the right attorney can certainly make the process easier.  They can help put you on an even playing field in dealing with the insurance companies and if needed they can file a lawsuit. In short, they will be looking out for your best interest.  

If I don’t have an obvious injury, such as a fracture or I have no pain should I assume I am fine?

No.  The adrenaline rush following an auto accident can temporarily block pain. Also, only 9% of the nerves in your body have pain receptors, therefore; you may not be alerted that you are injured.

An automobile is designed to withstand the damage of an accident, the human body is not.  When a vehicle is struck the force is also transferred to you.  If your vehicle sustains body damage (no matter how minor), it is impossible for you not to also sustain damage.  You are absorbing the force of the crash just as the car is.  Often times, injuries incurred during an auto accident cannot be seen externally, such as soft tissue injuries (injuries to tendons, ligaments, and discs) and can heal with scar tissue which can ache years later.  The damage to the spine can lead to recurring headaches, neck pain, stiffness, chronic muscle tension and spasms, lower back pain, spinal disc degeneration, inflamed arthritis, sore and tight inflexible muscles, greater chance of repeat injury and aid in poor posture.  Delays in the onset of pain are very common.  Therefore, making it a priority to get an exam with a Chiropractor after an auto accident is a step in the right direction toward insuring your future health.

What type of physician is most qualified to my condition following an auto accident?

It depends on your circumstances.  If you have a compound fracture (a bone fracture resulting in an open wound in which the bone protrudes), or a bleeding laceration you should immediately go to the emergency room.  If you have general discomfort or are not in any pain a Chiropractor would be best suited.  A Chiropractor is a doctor of functional medicine, through a thorough exam and x-rays he/she will be able to properly diagnosis whether you have an injury.  They would either offer to treat the injury or refer you out to the appropriate physician.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries when in an auto accident.  It is when the head jerks forward than backwards.  Even low impact care accidents can result in whiplash.  The sudden force stretches and tears the muscles and tendons in your neck.  When a person suffers from whiplash they may have:

  • A decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck; muscles may feel hard or knotted.
  • Pain when rocking the head from side to side or backward and forward.
  • Tenderness in the neck and shoulders.
  • Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate toward the forehead.

In many cases, pain may take up to several hours to appear in the neck area.  Concussions can also occur.  A person should visit a Chiropractor4 right away if feeling any pain in the neck and shoulders after a car accident to get an exam and proper diagnosis.

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