Texting and Driving: What should you do after the accident
Knowing is power
My experience with a car accident has taught me a lot. I made some serious mistakes that are going to cost me in the long run. So, what should you do?
- Hire an attorney: If your car is damaged and you are injured, do not trust the insurance companies. GEICO and Affirmative did not have my best interest at heart from the beginning of this process. An attorney will protect YOU!
- Don't make any decisions immediately afterwards: The insurance companies want you to decide immediately. I called 911 and then GEICO. The representative at GEICO wanted me to make a decision right there. I chose to go with his insurance because she told me I would have to pay $1000 up front. I have only received one call from GEICO since. I had a concussion and was in shock. I should not have been making decisions at that moment. Since the guy who hit me had cut-rate insurance, I am now stuck, simply having my back lift gate repaired and not replaced. WAIT until you consult an attorney before making decisions.
- If there is more than $500 damage, make sure the police come out and you obtain a police report. A CHP tow truck came to our accident but no officers responded. The tow truck driver said they would not. According to the CHP, accident investigations are their PRIMARY responsibility. Make them come out. I was in such shock and concussed after my accident that I drove my car home. I should not have.
- See a doctor immediately. If you can't report your injuries to your doctor immediately, tell the insurance companies that you are injured and plan to see a doctor. Be warned, symptoms may not appear immediately. I walked around for two days with a concussion without knowing it. Also, if your body allows it, take ibuprofen as soon as you can to help with the swelling, according to a friend who is an RN. Follow your doctor's orders.
- Record everything. Take pictures of your car, every doctor's order, and every receipt. Many insurance companies have mobile apps where you can upload pictures and documents to them directly. Do so. Keep a daily journal--that's what this is--of how this event has changed your life.
Finally, fight for your rights. The only way we change this system is to fight against it and keep it honest. I hope that the mistakes I made will help others in the future.