Top 5 things to do after a car accident
There are few incidents in life that cause more apprehension and anxiety than a car accident. From having to take evasive action to avoid the accident, the force of the impact from the car accident, the injuries you may suffer in the accident, and the frustration and aggravation that comes with a car accident, the entire process can cause a substantial disruption to your life. But there are steps you can take following a car accident that will help minimize the negative impact a car accident can have on your life. Here are top five things to do after a car accident:
Call the police – if you’ve been involved in a car accident with a large amount of property damage, or if one of the drivers was injured in the accident, it is likely that a party involved in the accident, or somebody that saw the accident will call the police. It gets a little less certain when there is less property damage, or the people involved in the accident don’t think they have serious accident injuries.
The problem is – most people’s adrenaline is flowing pretty good after an accident, and usually don’t feel the full extent of their injuries until later in the day, or even the next morning. So they rush away from the accident scene before letting a police officer detail how/when/where the accident happened. Big mistake. Make sure you let a police officer detail how the accident occurred, the extent of property damage and injuries, and most importantly, who is at fault. If you don’t get a completed Florida traffic crash report after your accident, you will be left to fight with your insurance company, and the insurance company for the driver at fault in the accident, over who was at fault, and whether you’re entitled to receive money for car accident injuries and/or property damage.
Call your insurance company – If it’s a slight fender bender with no property damage, and no injuries, you may not want to notify your insurance company because you’re concerned your insurance rates will go up. But if its anything more significant, including if you incur injuries in the car accident, make sure you let your insurance company know. If you don’t report the accident, injuries and property damage to your insurance company, it can deny your claim even though you have made all your insurance payments.
Don’t talk to the other person’s insurance company – You will hear the calls start immediately from the insurance companies of the other person involved in the accident. They will start with “just wanted to make sure you’re alright”, or “just checking on your car to see if its ok”. If they told you the truth, their message would sound more like “we’re calling to gain as much information from you as we can to limit any claim you can make against us”. The other person’s insurance company is not there to help you. Insurance companies are a business like any other – they exist to maximize their profit. If an insurance company calls you after you have a car accident, be very wary of giving them any information. You are not required to speak with them.
See a doctor – Most people dislike going to the doctor about as much as being involved in a car accident. But as mentioned above, it can take days and sometimes weeks, for injuries to become fully apparent. If you were hurt in a car accident – back pain, neck pain, pain in your shoulders or legs, headaches, no matter how significant or how minor you may think the injury is, get it checked out. Too often we see clients 3 months after an accident happened, who haven’t been to a doctor because they thought the injury would “go away”. The problem is that when you wait to see a doctor, for any more than a week, it sends a message to the insurance company, right or wrong, that you weren’t hurt. And you may also lose your PIP insurance benefits if you wait too long.
Call a lawyer – It may be a little self-serving for a lawyer to say you need to call a lawyer, but if you put your trust in an insurance company to take care of you, and fully compensate you for your car accident injuries, lost wages, medical bills, you are going to be severely disappointed. Insurance companies have hundreds of attorneys working for them to minimize claims against the insurance company – and they do a very good job. Make sure you have a fighting chance against the insurance company – call an experienced accident & injury attorney to help you recover money for you after a car accident.