It can happen to anyone—you’re driving down the road, and you hear a sickening crunch as your head snaps forward. You’ve been rear-ended. Immediately following an automobile accident, you may not even realize you have been injured. If you have a neck or back injury, you may not feel any pain until the following day, or even later. If you do notice pains in your back or neck, and the pains persist for a week or more, you probably need to seek medical attention, inform your insurance company, and consider seeking an attorney who specializes in litigation from automobile accidents.
Taking the Next Steps
Obviously, the most important step to take if you feel pain after an automobile accident is to seek medical advice as soon as possible. This is important for several reasons. First, your injuries may be more severe than you originally thought. This is especially true for neck and back injuries, as these types of injuries may not manifest themselves until several weeks, or even months, after an accident. You may need to seek the help of a chiropractor who specializes in recognizing soft tissue injuries, such as neck and back strains.
It is also crucial to report any suspected injuries to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance policies require the insured to give notice of any injuries immediately after an accident. This is to enable the insurance company to gather information while the injury is still fresh. Most insurers will be allowed a reasonable time to report an injury, but it is best to be safe and report any suspected injuries right away.
In addition to immediate notice, an insured party will usually be required to provide some type of proof of injuries within a certain period of time (e.g. sixty days). And finally, most insurance policies prohibit claims asserted after a certain period of time (e.g. one year). Thus, it is imperative that any suspected injuries be reported in a timely manner.
Many insurance companies will provide legal counsel for insured persons who have been injured in an accident if litigation is required. In return, the insured is required to cooperate fully with the insurance company by attending hearings and depositions, furnishing information for drafting and answering interrogatories, and supplying evidence. In addition, the insured may be required to attend an independent medical examination, to validate his or her injuries.
No one ever wants to consider the possibility of being involved in an automobile accident. If it does happen to you, however, you must take steps to insure that you can recover the full amount of money for your injuries. As soon as you realize you may have been injured, seek the help of a physician in your area. Then contact your insurance company.