Car accidents occur daily. They are unexpected. People are often left injured and in shock. It is important to know what to do after a car accident to protect your rights and preserve the evidence. After being involved in a car accident you or someone close to you should do the following:
1. Turn off your car and unlock your doors.
2. Check on the condition of everyone in the car. If anyone is injured, tell them not to move and if possible, ensure that they are immobilized.
3. If anyone is bleeding, make sure that either a tourniquet is applied or bleed is compressed to stop.
4. Either you or have someone for you should call 911 and be specific in requesting rescue as well as the police.
5. Stay calm and oriented. Respond clearly to the questions that you are being asked by emergency rescuers.
Don’t Move Around
Often times after an accident, a person isn’t immediately incapacitated or in pain. This could be due to adrenaline and other factors. If that is the case, please be careful moving about but, if you can do the following:
a. Exchange information with the other driver or give information to the police officer who is responding.
b. Get the name, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
c. If possible photograph or videotape the scene either using a camera or a cell phone camera.
d. If you are at all not feeling well, request transport to a hospital or emergency room.
e. When you see a physician or emergency room doctor, nurse or paramedic, tell them what hurts from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes, even if you don’t think it’s anything serious. Let the medical personnel decide what if any injuries you have.
f. Follow doctor’s orders. Remember they are the professionals.
Call Your Insurance Company
7. Report the accident to your own insurance carrier. Under Florida law, you and members of your family will be covered under your no fault or Personal Injury Protection ( PIP ) policy. This pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your loss wages up to an aggregate of $10,000.00 less any deductible you may have.
8. DO NOT GIVE A STATEMENT TO ANYONE INCLUDING YOUR OWN INSURANCE COMPANY OR THE ADVERSE INSURANCE COMPANY WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING WITH A LAWYER!
9. When deciding upon a lawyer to represent you, it is important that you question the lawyer as to his/her qualifications and experience in handling auto crash cases. The law is very similar to medicine. You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist, cardiologist, dermatologist or any other specialist or general practitioner in medicine to do a total knee replacement surgery. You would go to someone who has vast experience in doing total joint knee replacements. The same is true for automobile accidents. Lawyers that practice in areas other than car accidents do not fully understand all the nuisances and laws which may be applicable.
10. It is important that you get quality medical care. Therefore, make sure that the physicians that you are seeing are experienced physicians in dealing with the type of injury you have. Make sure to tell each and every medical provider what ails you each time you see them, from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, in order for them to properly evaluate any injuries you may have. Let them know of all pre-existing conditions and injuries and any medications that you were on at the time of the crash. Be consistent by giving every medical provider the same history. There is no such thing as “too much history.” In other words, if you have some pre-existing condition or injury let the doctors or healthcare providers know fully what that was. Do not try to hide anything. In order for you to get help for your injuries, the healthcare providers must know everything about your past. The same is true for your attorney. Tell your attorney everything about your past so that he/she could properly represent you.
11. In Florida, automobile crash cases are handled on a contingent fee basis. In other words, the lawyer will not charge you for his/her time nor for the costs involved in prosecuting the claim unless they are successful in making a recovery for you.
12. Under Florida law, you as a client in a personal injury case have certain rights. Make sure that your lawyer gives you a Statement of Client’s Rights signed by him/her and counter signed by you when you first retain the law firm as well as a copy of the Contingency Fee Agreement that you signed.
13. Under Florida law you have a certain amount of time within which to prosecute a claim for injuries. This time varies upon if you are making a claim against the at-fault driver or against your own underinsured motorist carrier. Please consult with a qualified lawyer to learn what the applicable statute of limitations is.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. The Miami Dade County Car Accidents Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano has throughout the years represented many clients involved in traffic fatalities, traumatic brain injuries and serious personal injuries. Visit our website to learn more about us and contact us today for a free consultation.