Driving from one spot to another in Oklahoma City can be so easy. The metropolis is encircled by convenient highways that help take you to wherever you want to go. And the grid of the city is laid out so well that everything is accessible by a quick trip in your new hybrid. But a ride can take a wrong turn quickly if you find yourself in an accident with another car. Injuries sustained in an auto accident may leave you with ongoing challenges for the rest of your life.
What to do if You Have Been Involved in a Car Accident in Oklahoma
Once you tend to your health, you will most likely want to figure out how to cover damages incurred to your precious car. And you will certainly want to discover why the accident happened in the first place – was the other driver drinking? Were they speeding? Texting, even?
- Remain calm. We know how difficult this can be in an emotionally charged and perhaps physically painful situation like a car accident, but it can keep an already bad situation from getting worse.
- Turn off your car’s ignition and activate your emergency flashers.
- If you, a passenger or the other driver has been injured, call an ambulance immediately.
- Call the police, even if you do not think you are injured, so that an accident report will be on file.
- Get the contact information of the person who caused the accident. This should include the license plate number and insurance information. WRITE THIS INFORMATION DOWN.
- Get the contact information for anyone present during the accident. Impartial witnesses often make the difference in a case’s outcome when, for example, two drivers blame each other.
- Request that the police officer at the accident scene write up an accident report.
- Take photos of your car, the car that belongs to the person who caused the accident, and the area surrounding the accident scene.
- Document as much as you can about the accident, including how the accident happened, damage to your car, and any injuries sustained.
- Seek any necessary medical attention immediately. Remember to explain to your doctor how the injuries occurred.
- Bear in mind that any insurance adjuster who calls you is calling on behalf of both the insurance company and the person who caused the car wreck.
- Contact us as soon as possible if you have been injured or think you might have a case against the person responsible for the accident.
Dealing with the Insurance Company After a Car Accident
Truthfully, these aren’t questions that you need to ask. You simply need to pick up the phone and talk to one of our adept Oklahoma City car accident attorneys. We have all the skill and experience necessary to negotiate with the other driver and insurance company – and we are prepared to aggressively litigate on your behalf if needed.
We understand that a car accident can be a traumatizing experience and that you may want to rest and recover in the comfort of your own home.
We understand exactly what it takes to settle this quickly and secure you the damages that you deserve.
But as you rehabilitate, dial the number to speak to our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys immediately. The opposing insurance provider will attempt to negotiate their way out of responsibility, or will try to delay payment for as long as possible in order to save themselves from any potential losses. We have had experience with this, and understand exactly what it takes to settle this quickly and secure you the damages that you deserve.
Don’t wait any longer – call us today, and let us protect your future.
Issues The Insurance Company Looks at in Car Accidents
Is liability (who’s at fault for the accident) clear? If you’ve been in a car wreck, you should contact the police immediately to come to the scene. A police officer will be able to investigate and issue an accident report showing who caused the wreck. An insurance company almost always wants a copy of the report. Having a report to look at is a lot easier to determine liability than hearing from their insured (who’s story on how the wreck occurred often changes).
Are there any witnesses to the wreck? Sometimes this can make the difference in determining, or showing the insurance company, that their driver was responsible. A common defense is that there was a sudden emergency which prevented the driver from not stopping in time.
Even though crash severity, or how much property damages occurs, is not correlated with the injuries sustained, insurance companies will look at how much property damage there is. You should note what happened to your body at impact. How were you positioned or braced in the car? Did you hit the steering wheel, door, or head rest? How far did your car move at impact? Car bumpers are designed to take an impact and they will often crush in, and then pop back out without substantial damage to the car.
Types of Treatment
Insurance companies like to use the “delay in treatment” defense if there are any gaps in a claimant’s treatment.
Insurance companies will look at the type of treatment claimants receive. It’s also important, if you’re hurt, to go to your doctor immediately. Most people will wait to see if their back, neck or shoulder will get better, but having a doctor evaluate you early on is important. Insurance companies like to use the “delay in treatment” defense if there are any gaps in a claimant’s treatment.
Amount of Treatment
An insurance company will evaluate the volume of your treatment as well. Why is your doctor prescribing the same physical therapy for six months if you’re not substantially improving?
Your Previous Medical History
Insurance companies will look at your prior medical history when evaluating a claim. If you’ve had previous treatment or injuries to the same body part that was injured in the wreck, then they’ll claim that it was a “pre-existing” condition and that they’re not responsible (even to the dismay of the doctors that treat and see your injuries). Surprisingly (hey! That’s how they save money) these same insurance companies will claim that your injury was “predisposed” to injury and thus was also a pre-existing condition!
If your case goes to trial, then insurance company will have a Defense Medical Examination of you. This is oftentimes called an “Independent Medical Exam” or IME. This independent exam is nothing of the sort. It’s bought and paid for by the insurance companies. It’s by doctors that have built their practices around testifying for insurance companies and get paid millions for this testimony. The insurance doctors usually have several “standard” excuses:
- The patient wasn’t hurt in the accident. He or she must have gotten injured somewhere else. Mind you, they usually say the doctors that treated the patient did a good job, but they just think that the injury wasn’t from the wreck.
- If they can’t get this argument across, then they’ll usually say that “while the patient was injured, he or she wasn’t that injured enough for this much treatment.” You’ll often hear, (regardless of how reasonable the treatment was), that it should have been shorter. Mind you, this doctor is looking at the patient a year or more after the wreck.
- The insurance company doctor will then usually say that the patient has fully healed from the wreck, regardless of what the treating doctors and medical doctors say.
How Our Attorneys Can Help if You Were Injured in a Car Crash in Oklahoma
Here, you’ll meet with an attorney to evaluate your case. You should also evaluate the attorney. Is this someone you want to work with over the next year or so? If you don’t like them, go see another attorney. The attorney should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case with you at the initial consultation. They should also have prior experience handling these types of cases. Can they mention any similar cases to yours?
If you and the attorney agree to sign a contract, then they’re representing you on your case. At this point, you should not be worrying about how to deal with the insurance company that keeps calling you. Your attorney will “take it from here.” Your priority is getting the proper medical treatment you need and getting back to normal as soon as possible.
Our demand packets provide a summary of the case and the harms and losses the client has incurred: How the accident occurred (liability), medical treatment, medical bills, and lost income.
Once you are through treating, we get all of your medical records and bills together. This is also the time we get information from your employer showing how much work you missed and how much you would have been paid. This is also the time to interview any witnesses. Our demand packets provide a summary of the case and the harms and losses the client has incurred: How the accident occurred (liability), medical treatment, medical bills, and lost income.
Attempt at Settlement
We initially send the demand packet with a settlement demand. At this point, the insurance company should have the case evaluated and they will either make a counteroffer or “deny the claim.” Note that insurance companies often deny claims because it delays the case. Paying later saves them money. A lot of “denied” cases settle after an attorney is involved.
File a Lawsuit
If the insurance company doesn’t want to settle the claim, then we’ll need to file a lawsuit. Note that even though the insurance company will be on the other side of the case, the case will be against the driver that was at fault for the wreck, not the insurance company involved in the claim. The insurance company will defend their case with their attorneys. Most insurance companies nowadays have “in house” counsel, which simply means that they are salaried employees of the insurance company. Their letterhead will have a law firm name, but in reality, they are actually employees of the insurance company. The insurance lawyers will then defend the case.
After the lawsuit is filed, the insurance company (their attorneys) will generally issue written questions for you to answer. These are called Interrogatories. After that, they’ll likely want to have a deposition with you in person to ask you questions. This is also when they evaluate you. How you come across on the witness stand, etc. During this time, we’re also conducting discovery of their driver and anything related to the case.
Attempt at Settlement
Most cases settle, so there’s a chance your case will settle even after the lawsuit was filed. In fact, most courts will order both parties to attempt to settle the case. A lot of judges require mediation (a settlement conference) before the case goes to trial.
If your case can’t get settled, then your only recourse is to go to trial. Most car accident trials will last two days to about a week, but that’s after all of the depositions and discovery is done in your case.
Call Our Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, contact us for a free consultation. Our experienced team of car accident attorneys will fight to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries, medical bills and suffering.