Auto Accident Tip Sheet


What to do if you are Involved in an Automobile Accident

If you have had the misfortune of being in an automobile accident that isn’t your fault, and especially if you have been injured, Crawford Law Offices would recommend that you do the following:

  1. See a doctor to get checked out. After an accident, it is useful to go to the emergency room or see your medical doctor as soon as possible. Any delay in treatment could make it harder to prove you’re hurt.
  2. Report it to your insurance company. You may have collision coverage or medical payments coverage that could pay for the damage to your car or your medical bills. It is very unlikely that the opposing insurance company will pay any of your medical bills unless you settle with them and give them a complete release of all claims. You may need your own auto insurance company or health insurance to pay your medical bills.
  3. Do not sign any papers for the opposing insurance company that you don’t understand.The medical authorization they want you to sign gives them complete access to all of your medical records, even those that pre-date the accident.
  4. Do not settle your case or sign a release of all claims without consulting an attorney.Early settlements favor the insurance company. Don’t settle early or settle without consulting an experienced attorney. You could be signing away valuable rights.

Feel free to give me a phone call or contact me to make an appointment to discuss your case. The phone call is free and we will be happy to answer your questions in plain English. All fees are percentage based; there is no charge until we collect for you.

Additional Tips For Dealing With Auto Accident Cases

  1. The measure of damage for your vehicle is either the cost of repair, or the fair market value, whichever is lower. If the cost to repair the car is higher than the value of the car, then your car is considered totaled. In that case, you would receive the fair market value of your vehicle. Oh the other hand, if the cost to repair your vehicle is less than the value then the insurance company will pay the cost of repair.
  2. The best ways to determine the value of your car is to either consult the NADA Blue Book or go through the classified section of the local newspapers to see if there are any vehicles similar to yours that are for sale. You can find the NADA Blue Book at the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown or at any bank.
  3. You have two claims: One for the car and one for your bodily injuries. You can settle on the car and leave the bodily injury claim open. The payment for the vehicle usually occurs within 2-3 weeks after the accident. The payment for your bodily injury claim will occur when you are done treating with the doctor(s).
  4. You do not want to settle the bodily injury case until you are done treating with all your doctor(s). You will get more money for your bodily injury claim if you finish treatment with your doctor(s) first, and then settle.
  5. The insurance company will make no advance payments on your bodily injury claim. They will not pay any medical bills or any wage loss unless you wish to give them a complete release of all claims and enter into a final settlement agreement. The only way to get money out of the insurance company on your bodily injury claim is to sign a release and enter into a final settlement agreement.
  6. Under the system that has existed in Nebraska since I began practicing law in 1986, you would have your own insurance company pay your medical bills before you settle. You can either turn the bills in to your automobile insurance company or your health insurance company. Usually when the case is settled, your insurance company will get their money back from the insurance company of the people that hit your vehicle.
  7. Follow all of your doctor(s) advice and instructions regarding treatment. I can not prove that you are hurt unless you see the doctor.
  8. If you see a new doctor(s) or new medical provider please provide me with the identity of that provider. When I settle your case, I will need to provide the insurance company with all the medical records and all the medical bills from all of the providers. The key to a good offer is good documentation. If I can document all of the treatment, I can get you a better settlement offer.
  9. In the final analysis, remember that the insurance company has no legal obligation to pay on your claim until a jury tells them to do so. If the insurance company wants to completely deny your claim and pay nothing voluntarily, they are allowed to do so under Nebraska law. However, in most cases, the matter is eventually settled out of court.

Please call or contact me if you have any other questions or comments about your case.

Crawford Law Offices

135 Lakewood Dr
Lincoln, NE 68510
(402) 466-3040
Toll Free:
(888) 402-HURT
(402) 466-3055

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The material contained on this website has been prepared by Crawford Law Offices for informational purposes. The information is not intended to be and should not be considered legal advice. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between users of this site and any other party whatsoever.