Being in an auto accident is a terrifying, life-changing event. Chances are, you’re rattled from the impact, and your head is swimming with thoughts you can’t quite articulate in the moment.
There are some key issues you need to be aware of when in an auto accident – what to say, what not to say, and steps to take after you’ve notified police and created a claim with your insurance company.
First though: don’t panic. You may be scared or worried, but doing anything drastic after an accident is ill-advised. There’s still adrenaline coursing through your body, which means you probably haven’t quite caught on to the extent of your injuries just yet.
Let’s go over a few things you need to know after a car accident:
Take Note of Everything
Nothing is too minute when dealing with the aftereffects of an accident. Take pictures of all sides of your vehicle, the road, the other person’s car and license plate. This helps add dimension and details to your case that would otherwise go unnoted. Ask yourself about the weather (is it rainy or foggy?); also, note any skid marks or surrounding property that was damaged due to the accident.
These elements will facilitate your attorney fleshing out your case, and understanding your injuries in conjunction with the events.
If you and the other driver are in a condition to get out of your cars, exchange information. Do they have insurance? If so, what carrier and policy? Also, after calling your insurance carrier, take a look at your policy on your app. What coverage do you have? Locate whether you have PIP and Uninsured Motorist (UM), as those are key for recovery and later stages of an accident case.
UM protects you in the event that the other driver doesn’t have insurance. Thus, you’ll be seeking compensation to help you from injuries, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other contributing damages from the accident.
Get Medical Treatment Immediately
Having PIP means you must get treatment within 14 days of an accident, according to Florida law. If you don’t, your PIP won’t cover its allotted percentage (usually 80%) for medical expenses attributed directly to your crash.
With a personal injury attorney, they can facilitate you seeing a doctor quickly if you didn’t end up going to the hospital after the accident. Usually, you’ll want to see a chiropractor, pain specialist, or other specialist to address any back, neck, and/or head injuries sustained.
Within the first day or two, you may experience:
- Headaches, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
- Body soreness
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
Don’t dismiss this – see someone as soon as possible, because after the adrenaline wears off, you’ll start to understand the full extent of damages to your body and mind.
What NOT to do
It’s essential that you DO NOT admit any kind of fault at the scene of the accident or say you’re fine, even if the situation seems dicey such as a multi-car pileup or side swipe. Why? Because either way, the insurance company will need to conduct an investigation that involves speaking to both involved parties, doing recorded statements, and evaluating the vehicles in question.
This is why having an attorney on your side from the get-go is vital, so you don’t get coerced into a corner. Insurance companies are NOT the good guys – they seek to have a quick and cheap resolution to claims if possible. Oftentimes, on recorded statements, adjusters will pressure you to remember actual figures from the accident.
DO NOT say anything you can’t confirm with 110% certainty. It’s perfectly okay to say “I don’t remember,” or “Everything happened so fast,” if that’s how it truly felt for you. Don’t fall into saying something you’re not comfortable with.
Seek Legal Counsel
You don’t have to navigate a personal injury case alone. At Lowman Law Firm, we have skilled attorneys waiting to help you through every step of the process. With our combined expertise, we can ascertain your coverage, get you medical treatment, and handle all the pestering calls from the insurance companies, as well as assist with the convoluted journey of property damage.
Get back on your feet toward recovery. Contact us today if you or a loved one has been in a car accident.