When you’re in a car crash, many things can change in an instant. In the moment, it can be hard to sort out what’s most important and how you can best protect yourself and your family. Working with motor vehicle accident victims for more than a decade, I know some of the same challenges crop up again and again. Here’s what I’ve learned that may help you determine your next steps after a car accident.
What is Life Like After a Car Accident?
First of all, your life, both figuratively and literally, comes to a screeching halt. Your car is wrecked. You are hurt. Things we take for granted, like getting to work every day or going to the doctor, become impossible in a millisecond.
If you have loved ones in the car, you are immediately consumed with concern for them. Fear. Fear of loss, particularly for men, is usually expressed as anger towards the person who hit you and endangered you and your loved ones.
With the initial impact, your brain releases epinephrine, the fight or flight chemical. That causes your heart to race and your senses to become very acute. It also acts as a pain suppressor, so it suppresses any feelings of pain that you may have as a result of the accident. It takes any where from twenty-four to seventy-two hours for your body to process this chemical.
That is why the general rule is to be checked out at the emergency room immediately. The ER will give you pain medication, take some x-rays, and send you home. They don’t take an injury seriously unless you have a leg off or a comparable injury.
The worst day of symptoms is generally the third day. By then, you will be experiencing limited mobility in your neck and back along with bruising from the impact. Also bear in mind that the pain medication that the ER doctor prescribes will mask the pain to an extent so you don’t realize how hurt you are.
You would also be surprised how many people are bruised by the impact of the air bags, typically along their chest and arms. You see second and third degree burns from the powder that explodes when the air bag deploys. And this is just in the twenty seconds following the car wreck.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
Now imagine being in excruciating pain and having to deal with an insurance company that refuses to return your phone calls with the express purpose of frustrating you to the point where you give up. I’m not kidding. Their internal operations are to delay, deny, and defend any claim with the express purpose of exhausting your ability to persist any more. All you want is a rental car so that you can get to work or to the doctor, and all they tell you is that they cannot provide you with one until they speak with their driver.
Oftentimes, their driver is rather reluctant to return their phone calls or to turn in the FR-10 ( the green form the officer gave you with the insurance information on it) to the proper authorities because they don’t want to accept responsibility. Where does that leave you?
It leaves you out in the cold. You have to figure how to make things work while you’re hurt and without a car. The only possible solution is if the people I work with had the presence of mind to pay for rental car coverage on their own policy, which is the exception and not the rule.
For the most part, insurance companies don’t do a great job of telling their customers about additional options you can buy to protect yourself. Also, we have to look at ourselves too, usually all we think about when we are buying car insurance is how to get the best price.
As a consumer, I would encourage each and every driver in South Carolina to consider adding under-insured motorist coverage, rental car, and gap insurance to their current policies. The general wisdom is to err on the side of caution. I would strongly suggest you do so.
What if You Don’t Have Medical Insurance?
Let’s make another assumption that you don’t have health insurance. You would be surprised how many people fail to seek medical treatment after a car accident because they don’t have health insurance.
What you didn’t know was that your local, friendly, car accident lawyer could help you get medical treatment even if you don’t have health insurance.
One of the most gratifying aspects of my job is helping hurt people, who would otherwise go untreated, find a doctor who can provide some relief. A plaintiff lawyer can do this through a letter of protection.
Essentially, a letter of protection means that the lawyer agrees to pay the bill to the doctor after he settles the claim with the insurance company. It depends on the good reputation of the lawyer in the medical community for paying his bills.
Also, over the years lawyers develop knowledge and relationships with doctors who can help. In that respect, a lawyer is very much like a guide, pointing out potential pitfalls to the people they represent and helping them find the medical care they need to get better.
In closing, after a wreck, you are hurt, not thinking clearly, and the insurance is well aware of your weakness. Sadly, their objective is to exploit your weakness to their financial gain. Because, let’s not kid ourselves, insurance companies are businesses.
The primary objective of a business is to make profit. The way you make profit is by taking in more money than you pay out. A great way to maximize profit is to limit the amount of money you pay out after a car wreck. And an insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little as possible.
Where Can I Find a Charleston, SC Car Accident Injury Attorney?
If a you or a loved one was hurt or wrongfully killed in a car wreck, you need to find legal representation right away. The Hartman Law Firm, LLC provides legal assistance for those who have been hurt or killed. Their legal expertise rivals the best around.
Frank Hartman will fight for fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries. To get started, call Frank 24/7 at (843) 300-7600. Or, you can contact him online, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The sooner you get Frank on your case, the sooner you’ll get your settlement and start on the road to recovery.
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