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The 3 Most Important Things to Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Nashville, TN

June 01 2022 | Blog
  • The 3 things

    When you are injured in a car accident, your life can be turned upside down. Dealing with doctors, the insurance company, AND medical bills, all while you are injured and unable to work the way you usually do, can be terrifying and stressful.

    Accidents happen; we all know that they do. The steps you take after the accident are of the utmost importance in terms of determining whether or not you will receive a fair and reasonable settlement or a positive jury verdict. Here are a few helpful tips to remember after an auto accident.

    TOP 3 THINGS TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT IN NASHVILLE:

    1. Report your injuries
    2. Understand your auto insurance coverage
    3. Hire an experienced personal injury attorney (free consultation!)

     

    REPORTING YOUR INJURIES

    One of the most common tactics that an auto insurance company will use when they are trying to keep from paying top dollar is to say that your injuries predated the collision and/or that your current injuries are not actually related to your wreck. They do this for one big reason – THEY DO NOT WANT TO PAY YOU. And for them, it is just business.

    So, first and foremost, report any injuries and pain to the officer (or officers) investigating the accident scene. This should be done prior to the officers completing the police report. This will give you and your attorney a baseline for establishing that your injuries are related to the collision you were involved in.

    Another thing to remember, just because you might not feel or experience pain at the scene of the accident does not mean that your injuries are unrelated to the wreck. Only a doctor can determine if the injuries you are suffering from are related to the collision. Getting medical treatment after your accident is critical.

     

    You May Not Notice Some Injuries Immediately

    When you are in a car wreck, your adrenaline is pumping, your brain is racing a million miles per hour, and your injuries may not be present immediately. Sometimes it can even take several days for you to feel them. However, it is still important that you report any injuries and pain that you are aware of when the police arrive to make sure the accident report will reflect the injuries you knew of at the time of the car accident, but please – DO NOT STOP THERE!

    You should follow up with your medical provider as soon as possible after your wreck, as delays in treatment can negatively impact your claim. If your injuries are substantial, the investigating officers should offer ambulance transportation to a hospital or an emergency room.

    As a side note, emergency rooms usually try to “triage” patients. This means they are trying to ensure that an accident victim is going to survive their injuries. Thus, they may not document every single injury that you have suffered.

    On the other hand, if you did not go to a hospital or an emergency room on the day of the collision, then you can certainly make a trip to an urgent care clinic or your primary care physician (PCP) as soon as possible to establish baseline diagnoses and treatment.

    Some injuries that frequently result from auto collisions may be difficult or even impossible to diagnose with x-rays or CT scans. X-rays and CT scans are the most common diagnostic tools used in emergency rooms. So, even if you did go to the emergency room or hospital on the day of the car accident, it is still important for you to follow up with your own medical provider and continue your medical treatment.

    In fact, if you look closely at the discharge paperwork that the hospital gives you, it is likely to instruct you to follow up with your PCP.  In terms of getting the insurance company to pay full value for your damage claim, it is wise to continue medical care until you heal completely or until you reach your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is the point in medical care where your doctors do not believe you will ever get any better.

    Always remember to follow your physician’s instructions regarding medical treatment and care.

    The Follow-Up

    When considering follow-up medical treatment (or initial care if you did not go to the emergency room the day of the collision), a good place to start is to consult with your primary care physician, your family doctor. If you do not have a PCP, you can reach out to a group medical practice to find a primary care doctor.

    At this visit, it is quite important that you communicate any injuries, pain, or changes in health to the doctor. This also includes any emotional distress, anxiety or depression that has occurred or worsened since the collision. Your doctor can advise you about future medical care.

    It is important to remember that we are lawyers, not doctors. No attorney can advise you regarding treatment or diagnose any specific injury you may have suffered. For this reason, it is crucial that you follow your doctor’s orders. The first goal, in any case, is to get the appropriate medical treatment and to get healthy. No amount of money is worth living a life of pain. You should enjoy your life.

    Fortunately, the more you work to get better, the better the documentation your attorney will have of your injuries. This can bolster your claim to the insurance company.

    UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUTO INSURANCE COVERAGE

    What Will Your Auto Insurance Cover After A Car Accident?

    After a car accident and after beginning your medical treatment, it is also crucial that you understand your own auto insurance coverage. There are several different types of coverage, and your insurance contract may not have all of them. To find this, look through your policy and find a page titled “DECLARATIONS.” This will outline which types of coverage your policy entitles you to, and the coverage amounts for each.

    Do You Have Liability Coverage?

    First, there is liability coverage, also referred to as bodily injury coverage. This is the most commonly required insurance coverage. This particular type of coverage protects you financially if you are the cause of a car accident. It can help pay the injured person up to the coverage limits. The coverage limits will be documented in your insurance policy paperwork.

    What is No-Fault Coverage and What Does It Cover Following A Car Accident?

    No-fault coverage is another common type of coverage. In some states, this coverage is referred to as Med-Pay (or medical payments coverage), while in others, it is referred to as PIP (or Personal Injury Protection). The effect of this particular type of coverage is largely governed by the laws of the state in which the coverage was purchased or the laws of the state in which the car accidents occur. However, the basics remain the same.

    This is coverage for you, the policyholder, and will pay for certain medical expenses or lost wages (again, depending on the state) without regard to whose fault the car accident was. Fault is not a criteria for determining if this coverage applies; thus, the term no-fault.

    What is the Difference Between UIM and UM Coverage?

    Likely, the most confusing aspects of coverage are UIM, which is Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and UM, which is Uninsured Motorist Coverage. UIM is exclusively for situations where the other driver’s insurance company does not provide enough coverage to compensate the injured person for their injuries, whereas, UM is exclusively for situations where the at-fault driver does not have any insurance coverage at all.

    Notably, if the at-fault driver does carry any liability insurance, your UM coverage will not apply.

    Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    As mentioned earlier, UIM coverage, if purchased, is for situations where the case is worth more than the liability or bodily injury policy limits that an at-fault driver carries. For example, if the claim is worth $100,000 and the at-fault driver has $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, UIM coverage can help pay for the difference in value, BUT only up to the policy limits as shown on the declarations page. Some states have different rules regarding this type of coverage, so it is time to take a break from discussing this coverage and deal with the confusing topic of “stacking.”

    What is Stacking?

    As previously mentioned, the way certain insurance coverages function can vary greatly from state to state. This is particularly true of UIM coverage. The main issue is what is referred to as “stacking.” With UIM coverage, to determine the level of coverage you have purchased, it is crucial to understand if UIM coverage “stacks” in your state. So what is “stacking?”

    Essentially, stacking is a term to describe whether or not your insurance company gets an offset toward your UIM coverage based on the coverage provided by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In states that do not “stack,” if the at-fault driver has $50,000 in liability or bodily injury coverage and you have $50,000 of UIM coverage, you essentially have ZERO UIM benefits available to you.

    In a slightly different situation, again in a state where insurance coverages do not “stack,” if you have $100,000 in UIM coverage and the at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage, you would have $75,000 of UIM benefits available to you.

    One very big takeaway here is that it is crucial to understand what level of coverage you have actually purchased. An experienced car accident attorney can advise you on what coverages you do or do not carry and how to properly proceed with your claim. Our team of lawyers is standing by now with your free consultation.

    Does UIM Stack In Tennessee?

    In Tennessee, UIM coverage DOES NOT “stack.” This means that in a Tennessee car accident, if you have $50,000 in UIM coverage and the other driver has $50,000 or more in liability coverage, then you would not have any UIM benefits available to you.

    Does UIM Stack In Kentucky?

    In states where coverages “stack,” such as Kentucky, then you need not worry about an offset, as the benefits outlined in your policy are available to you (assuming your case has a value that exceeds the at-fault party’s liability coverage policy limits) regardless of the amount of coverage carried by the other driver.

    When Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Apply After a Car Accident?

    UM, or Uninsured Motorist Coverage, exists for situations where a car crash is caused by a driver with no insurance coverage. This coverage will apply only in this specific situation when the other driver has no liability insurance coverage.

    You can read more about the difference between UIM and UM coverage and stacking in our Underinsured And Uninsured Motorist Coverage Explained blog.

    HIRE AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

    One of the most important things to do after a car accident is hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. An accident victim has just had their life ripped apart. They’re hurt, cannot work, have serious injuries and need legal representation.

    The attorney-client relationship can be one of the most important factors in alleviating stress from an already stressful situation. You need an attorney as soon as possible. A personal injury lawyer can help gather evidence such as witness statements, video evidence, medical records, and cell phone data and logs.

    The attorney can also document the weather conditions during the collision and help you find medical assistance if you need help locating the appropriate medical providers for your particular injuries. Again, the attorney is not a doctor, but we can assist you in scheduling appointments and coordinating payments between the various levels of insurance.

    All of this can help you toward ultimately receiving a fair settlement, or if the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate fairly, then this will be a good basis for succeeding in a lawsuit in court. In short, the law firm or lawyer you choose will have a significant impact on the entire process and can be crucial in getting you the compensation you deserve for the damages that the other driver has caused.

    Personal injury cases can be complex and demanding. Our law firm knows how to fight for you. When you hire us, our team of injury lawyers will begin working on your claim right away, ensuring that your personal injury case has the best shot at a successful resolution and, equally as important, ensuring that you are able to focus on your medical treatment and your personal life. We know that your world does not simply stop moving after a car accident.

    Our team will take care of the legally required steps to make sure that all at-fault drivers involved in the accident are held accountable.

    CALL NOW FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW

    Our law office offers a free consultation – EVERY TIME. In fact, we only get paid if we recover money for your personal injury claim. Even case expenses, we never get paid unless you receive compensation for your damages. Our phone number is 800-800-4600. Our team is waiting to evaluate your legal case right now!

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