We’ve all had those unfortunate moments in which life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. An accident can completely derail your plans. One moment you’re going about your daily business… Then, in an instant, you find yourself dealing with pain, confusion, and emotional turmoil.
This is especially true for an auto accident. A car wreck is an inherently traumatic experience. You may be physically and emotionally shaken without a clue as to what you should do next. The shock alone could make acting and thinking rationally very difficult. Add the pain, the chaos of the accident scene, and the sight of your damaged vehicle, and you may become frozen. Your only thoughts are wishing that you could take back the few moments leading up to the accident.
However, the decisions you make after an accident are crucial. Your actions can make a big difference in your future well-being. Not only that, but what you do immediately following an accident may play a major role in determining whether litigation is required to address someone else’s negligence.
Informed People Act Better During Emergencies
Do you know why medical professionals need to retake CPR and First Aid courses every year? Because this information needs to become ingrained in their subconscious to enable them to react appropriately when an emergency does occur. Instead of becoming paralyzed by fear or indecision, those who routinely take CPR courses instinctively know how to jump in and help out. No matter how traumatic the scene, first responders react quickly and efficiently. As a result, lives are saved.
Given the number of car accidents that occur every day, you should know what to do if you are involved in one. Periodically reviewing the steps to take if you are involved in an accident can also help you maximize your settlement. In the unfortunate instance that you are injured in an auto or another type of accident, you can react calmly and with confidence. While others may be “freaking out”, you know what to do to ensure the safety of everyone involved. In addition, your actions after an accident can make a huge difference if you need to be compensated for medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Review this simple guide so that you can confidently react when disaster strikes.
What to Do After a Car Accident
One moment, you’re driving along, running errands, or coming home from work. Then, without any warning, you hear that horrifying crunching sound of two vehicles colliding. At first, all you can do is to gulp in air and try to process what just happened. Soon, however, you know you need to react quickly for your own safety. Here are some steps to take immediately following a car accident:
At the Accident Scene
After a car accident, the first thing you should do is make sure that you are safe. For minor accidents, pull your car to the side of the road. If your car is disabled, shut it off immediately. If your injuries permit, get out of your vehicle and move away from the road and other traffic.
Even if the accident is minor, call 911 or your local emergency number. This allows first responders to provide any appropriate medical care. If you feel pain or suspect an injury, don’t refuse medical attention. It is always best to air on the side of caution. The impact of car accidents can have serious and delayed consequences, such as a spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries.
In addition, a police officer will take statements from each party involved as well as any other eye witness accounts. The officer will fill out a police report which will be an integral document during the insurance claim. If you can remember, ask the officer for the police report number before leaving the scene.
If possible, take pictures of the scene. The more visual evidence that you collect, the easier it will be to prove liability in the case of litigation. Also, obtain the contact information of any witnesses. This includes their names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Make sure you also request the names and badge numbers of any officers at the scene.
Shortly After an Accident
Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Most insurance companies have requirements about the amount of time in which you have to report an accident. If you fail to contact your insurance company during this predetermined window, you may risk the insurance claim being rejected. Once you file a claim, an insurance adjuster will be in contact to gather more information and assess the extent of your damages.
If you didn’t require medical care at the scene of the accident, you still want to visit your doctor for a medical evaluation. The adrenaline and emotional surge of an accident may cause symptoms of injuries to show up hours after the event. In addition, some symptoms that you may consider minor may indicate a bigger problem. For example, the pain and stiffness you think is a mild case of whiplash may be due to a ruptured or herniated disc. In addition, getting checked out by your doctor within a day or two after an accident will provide medical records stating that your injuries were due to the accident.
Since Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, any injuries from a car accident will be settled with your insurance company. Your policy covers a specific dollar amount outlined by your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. That is, once you pay the deductible. If the medical bills and personal hardships of your injuries go beyond what your insurance company covers, you should enlist the expertise of a personal injury attorney.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
The insurance claims process can be confusing—especially if you are dealing with painful injuries. Do you really want to spend hours on the phone or tracking down paperwork while you are trying to recover and get your life back to normal?
A personal injury attorney knows exactly how to file a successful insurance claim. Instead of haggling with an insurance adjuster who wants you to settle your claim for as little as possible, why not have a knowledgeable and experienced ally at your side? After all, the insurance companies want you to make mistakes. If you’re missing paperwork or file something late, your claim could be rejected. The result: missing out on thousands of dollars to pay your medical bills, recover lost wages, and put food on the table.
In addition, a personal injury attorney can help you get money for some of the more intangible effects of your accident. It may be difficult for you to prove pain and suffering or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on your own. A lawyer can help prove and calculate these costs, securing you the compensation that you deserve.
What About Other Types of Accidents?
Personal injury attorneys don’t just handle car accidents. In fact, any injury due to the negligence of another person or business may give you the opportunity to receive compensation. This includes slip and fall accidents or workers’ compensation claims.
If you were injured in these types of accidents, you want to follow similar steps. Take pictures, gather contact information of witnesses, and request medical help. A personal injury attorney can help with the rest of the claims process.
The Ward Law Group Is Ready to Help You
If you were injured in an accident, you probably have a lot of questions. Of course, the insurance companies won’t make your life any easier. They make their profit by settling claims for as little as possible.
Why not get the help of someone who is actually on your side? The Ward Law Group has intimate knowledge of the insurance claims process. As a result, they have recovered millions for their clients.
The Ward Law Group is dedicated to helping both English- and Spanish-speaking individuals who have been injured in accidents. Don’t let a language barrier or confusion about the claims process keep you from getting the money you deserve. A call to 855-DOLOR-55 (855-365-6755) will put you in contact with a team that is ready to help secure your financial future. Contact The Ward Law Group today and maximize your claim!