Written on Apr 28, 2022 10:01:53 AM
7 Questions To Ask After A Car Accident
When you are involved in an auto accident, you’ll no doubt have plenty of questions. What do I do? Who do I contact? Am I at fault? With all of these questions swirling around in your head after an accident, it can be a scary and confusing time.
Have you just been in an auto accident? We’ve put together a list of the seven questions you need to ask yourself. And if you’re just preparing for a potential accident down the road, why not print this out and keep it in your glove compartment. That way, if an accident does happen, you’ll have a guide on-hand to help you think a little clearer.
7 Questions To Ask After A Car Accident – And the Answers!
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Here’s what you should ask yourself immediately following an accident to ensure your safety and the safety of others, preserve evidence of the accident, and speak with the right people. Don’t forget to check out our blog on the Most Common Types of Car Accidents & Injuries Plus the Reasons Behind Them.
1. Is Everyone Okay?
Before you do anything else, check to be sure that everyone is unharmed. If you’re in a heavy traffic area and you can safely move your vehicles out of harm’s way, do so. If anyone has injuries or shows signs of distress, you should contact emergency services and call them to the scene to get proper medical attention. There is nothing more important than tending to your health and safety after an accident, as well as those of others involved in your accident.
You should know that your primary care physician may not treat you after an accident. When you are injured in an accident, your personal injury protection (PIP) becomes the primary payer. Your healthcare provider would need to file through your insurance carrier to get paid, and most aren’t willing to go through the hoops to do that. Therefore, you need to find a doctor that will properly treat you.
Over time, do not hesitate to seek medical attention for any persistent or recurring pains, aches, or other effects the accident may have had on you or those involved. Too often, victims will ignore these symptoms of serious medical issues resulting from their accident and never have a professional examine their injuries. If you seek compensation without documentation from a medical professional, the insurance company will not consider your injury a direct result of the accident.
2. What Do I Need From the Other Driver?
Unless the accident was a hit-and-run, the other driver should be on the scene and will probably be just as flustered as you are. Whether you were at fault or not, try to keep a cool head; arguments can only make things worse. We don’t recommend admitting fault, either; should you decide to pursue a lawsuit, this could damage your case.
While the contact information of the other party will be given to the police for their report, having their information in your hand gives you the option of further correspondence if necessary. So, you might ask the other driver to provide his or her name, license plate number, phone number, email address, and their insurance provider’s name. If the owner of the other vehicle is different than the driver, you will need their information as well.
3. Were Their Contributing Factors to the Accident?
The most critical time following an accident is the first few minutes after it happens. In this brief window of time, road, weather, and traffic conditions will be near identical to how they were the moment of your accident, so carefully make note of these factors. Should you pursue a case, these conditions can provide support for your claims. In fact, we recommend keeping a notepad and pen in your vehicle to record them, or typing these conditions into your phone and texting or emailing them to yourself so they will have a date and time stamp.
When on-location at your accident site, gather as much information as possible including:
- Names, addresses, driver’s licenses, and license plate information
- Vehicle model, make, and year of any vehicle involved
- Passenger and witness information
- Insurance company and policy information of all those involved
- Weather conditions
- Traffic conditions
- Road conditions (including any construction taking place)
- Lighting and other environmental factors
Essentially, you’ll be recording everything there is to know about your accident and the accident site. To create a much more reliable description of their accident site, snap some photos with your phone. The best cases using photographic evidence are those with an abundance of photographs to support your claims.
4. Who Should I Contact?
Immediately after an accident, your first concern should be for your own health and safety. Verify that you and your passengers are safe, then call 911 and the police. The health and safety of those involved are the primary concerns in the aftermath of an auto accident. When the police are notified, immediately report the accident. While waiting for the police to arrive, contact your immediate loved ones to alert them of the accident and your safety.
After you have given your report to the police and gathered the contact information of all involved, contact your insurance company in regards to the appropriate forms and further reports. After calling your insurance company, contact your personal attorney to determine the next step to take, and convey whether or not you wish to make a claim. If you are not at fault for the auto accident, your attorney can assist you with deciding on the actions to take against the negligent party.
5. What Do I Do If I’m at Fault?
Accidents happen even to the best of drivers. While speaking with the police about your perspective of the accident, be sure to stick to the facts and be as unbiased as possible. Sending out an aggressive, violent, or blaming vibe may not work in your favor in the future. Pay attention to the other driver as they speak with the police as well, and write down key points of their recollection. Sometimes, fault can be found with both drivers instead of just one, so your notes about the other party’s perspective may come in handy.
If you get a ticket, be sure to sign it; if you don’t, you could be arrested which will only prolong the aftermath of the accident. And remember, just because you were cited, doesn’t mean you’re at fault; a police officer’s opinion regarding fault is not admissible in a civil claim for negligence, so you may still have a case.
Be sure to speak with your attorney before paying any fines or pleading guilty, as the attorney’s familiarity with the laws of your specific area combined with the unique situation of your accident may prove beneficial to you.
6. What Should I Ask My Personal Attorney?
Calling your personal attorney after an auto accident is one of the first ways to secure your situation in the aftermath of the accident. But what are the best questions to ask your personal attorney? Where do you begin?
There are six key questions to ask when meeting with your personal attorney.
- “What compensation can I expect?” Your attorney will be able to make an estimate based on your situation. As long as you keep your expectations within reason, you may be eligible for compensation.
- “If the accident results in me becoming permanently disabled, will you help me get social security benefits?” Your attorney may be able to help you navigate through social security benefits and any other related further action available.
- “How will you represent me?” Know every detail about the plans your attorney will take. This is the time for you and your attorney to develop a partnership.
- “When do I need to take care of claims or related lawsuits?” The answer to this question varies state by state. This is otherwise known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, the duration is four years after an accident, though it may be subject to change based on the situation.
- “What can you do for the compensation of future medical expenses?” As you recover, you will find that the medical expenses will continue. You may need further compensation depending on your own unique situation, and your personal attorney will assist you in what you need.
- “What do you need from me?” Your potential lawyer will be able to tell you what information and documents you need to bring to a consultation. This question also shows your willingness to engage in the lawyer-client relationship.
7. What Should I Ask My Insurance Company?
After an auto accident, your insurance company is one of the first few phone calls you make. But what specific information do you relay to them? If you followed our advice in #3, take out your notebook or phone and relay the details from there to your insurance company. This will help jog your memory and it will also allow you to convey your story without bias. After all, your insurance agent will want to know objective exposition, not opinions; your notes and photographs can help you with this.
Of course, you’ll have questions of your own. You’ll want to know:
- “What happens next?” The answer will most likely be the gathering and conveying the information above, including any documentation of related medical expenses. You can always contact the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation if you feel contact has not been adequately upheld.
- “What does my insurance cover?” The insurance company will pay either the amount necessary to repair your vehicle or the actual cash value of your vehicle, depending on the lesser alternative. Actual cash value is the market value of the car before the accident occurred. Traditionally, collision coverage policies provide the greatest reimbursements for auto accidents and damages, as repairs and are paid through your own insurance company regardless of fault.
- “How much does my insurance cover?” Fault plays a significant role in liability insurance claims, as the other party’s insurance company will be required to pay for damages and repairs if their client is deemed responsible. Your documentation of events can help speed the investigation along.
- “Does PIP pay for my medical bills?” Florida is a no-fault state, meaning no matter whose fault it is, you must go through your own insurance for initial treatment. This is where your PIP comes in, and why it is mandatory for all Florida auto insurance policies.
- “Will this accident affect my insurance rates?” If another driver is at-fault in an accident, it should not affect your insurance rates. If you were at fault or found to be partially at fault, your insurance premiums are almost guaranteed to rise.
Be sure to fully understand your insurance policy before you purchase it; this will lessen the number of questions you may have after an accident. And remember, don’t admit fault or say you have no injuries (as they can reveal themselves later) when speaking with the agent.
Your Hometown Legal Team at Lowman Law Firm is Here For You
At Lowman Law Firm, we’ve heard many horror stories about how insurance adjusters never followed up with accident victims about the status of their claim. Relying solely on an insurance company to move your case along can mean important things get overlooked. It can also mean they will try to settle it quickly and pressure you to answer questions you aren’t comfortable with.
Having a knowledgeable and caring attorney on your side will eliminate the guesswork with your accident. You will get proper legal advice and a degree of certainty that is difficult to get otherwise.
So why contact Lowman Law Firm?
- Free consultations
- No fees unless we win
- No up-front retainer costs
- No obligation if you don’t choose us
- Personalized attention to your case
- Direct phone/text line to your lawyer
- Dealing with the insurance company
- Collecting documents, medical reports, etc.
- Helping with your property damage
- Direct phone/text line to your lawyer
- $2,175,000 awarded in auto accident cases
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, after you get the appropriate medical attention, be sure to contact an experienced auto accident attorney for assistance. Lowman Law Firm’s attorneys bring their skills, experience, and compassion to every auto accident injury case. Our auto accident attorneys serve all of Florida, with offices in Citrus County, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, and Pasco County. Not able to come to us? We’ll come to you! We offer free home and hospital consultations!