Checklist: Things to do after an accident
- Your health comes first: You should have a medical exam for any injury, no matter how minor it may seem at the time. No one can decide for you what doctor you must use. The person who is determined to be at fault or their insurance company will pay for the treatment of the injury. In some cases, the responsible party does not have adequate insurance to cover all of your medical expenses. In that case, your insurance company may also be involved in paying medical costs under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- Take photos of your vehicle in its damaged condition before it is repaired or destroyed in a salvage yard. Do this even if you or someone on your behalf must go to a salvage yard.
- Take pictures of the injuries anyone sustained in the collision as soon as possible after the accident. Every week or so take additional pictures to show the length of time it takes the injuries to heal.
- Get a copy of the accident report and be sure to take it, along with any medical bills, with you when you consult with an attorney. Most police departments provide a copy of the accident report free to those involved in the collision; it is usually ready 48 hours after the accident.
- Keep a regular account of your symptoms and the development of your medical condition. List the effects of pain or discomfort, including any restrictions from normal daily activities and routines. If your case eventually goes to trial, this will help you remember specific details about your injuries and your recovery.
- Write down and keep a detailed record of dates or partial days lost from work, whether you are paid for the days out or not. Keep track of the wages or money lost due to your temporary inability to work. Keep a record of doctor's visits, mileage, time and any money that must be spent to make these visits.
- Keep all bills. Do not send the only original you have to your medical insurance company or anyone else. Send photocopies.
- Keep a health journal documenting how your injuries are affecting your life on a daily or weekly basis. Include all doctor and hospital visits and physical therapy visits.