Sadly, when faced with the unexpected and unplanned nature of automobile accidents, people are often left with no idea what to do. As such, this blog post is Dunaway Law Firm’s pursuit to help those involved in these types of accidents.
Before we delve in, please, a note of caution: this article and others like it offer generalized advice that may prove helpful in a wide variety of car accident scenarios. The checklist below does not, and cannot, speak to your specific situation. In fact, some of the items listed below might not help in your situation. To obtain detailed advice about specific steps you should take after a car accident to protect your legal rights, connect with an experienced car accident attorney.
Also, the advice below applies to accident victims and their families alike. Obviously, sometimes car accidents leave car drivers and passengers incapacitated and unable to help themselves. This checklist aims to provide useful tips for anyone who cares about protecting an accident victim’s wellbeing and legal rights.
Please do this first in ever car accident; even small accidents. The police are required to report to the scene, and they are required to author a crash report if anyone involved in the accident claims injury. This is important as many insurance companies will claim that an accident did not occur if there is no police record of the accident. Please also ensure that every person involved in the accident is on the report. Again, insurance companies are notorious for claiming that a person who was tragically injured in a car accident was not in the accident when they were not on the police report.
The more important reason to call 911 is to seek appropriate emergency and follow-up medical care. This is required from our perspective. No person involved in a car accident should ever make the disastrous mistake of assuming they are okay and skipping medical care that could save their lives.
Once you receive treatment, it is imperative that you continue to follow your physician’s instructions. Insurance companies often claim that a person that does not treat for their injuries are not injured. This could not be further from the truth, but the best way to combat this argument is to the treatment that you need and that is recommended by your doctor.
In Florida, you can get 80% of your medical bills paid up to $10,000.00. This insurance is required regardless of fault. To claim this insurance benefit, you must seek medical care within 14 days. What is care has been debated under the law, but we think it is a good idea to go to the ER or Urgent Care immediately after an accident.
If your medical bills exceed the $10,000.00 in insurance mentioned above, there are other ways to pay for your needed medical care. Many health insurance plans will cover your medical care for car accident related injuries. If you do not have medical insurance, all is not lost. Contact the Dunaway Law Firm, P.A. at 407-457-5000 to learn more about how we can arrange for the payment of your medical bills.
If you have long-term disability insurance, such as AFLAC, you may also need to put that insurance carrier on notice of any disabling injury.
Work accident? If so, tell your employer right away about your injury so that your employer can file a workers’ compensation claim. Nearly all Central Florida employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance, which covers medical expenses for work-related injuries.
Lastly, our recommendation is that you do not talk to any insurance carrier for either you or the other party after an accident. These adjusters are trained to call as soon as a claim in reported and to get you to submit to a recorded statement. Sometimes, they may even try to settle your injury claim in this conversation. At a very minimum, please do not discuss fault or your medical condition until you have called a car accident attorney.
Car accidents can be serious and leave people severely injured. Therefore, this should not be the priority, but these steps can be helpful if you can get a friend or family to help you out :
- Security Cameras. Virtually all retail shops, restaurants, gas stations, car washes, etc. have security cameras. Some of these cameras’ record but only for a short period of time. If fault is an issue in your case, it would be a good idea to go to the business around the scene of the accident to see if they have any footage. This needs to be done quickly after an accident.
- Red Light Cameras. Red light cameras are everywhere in Central Florida and many of these record video. To get this video, you must go to the venor for the City, County or Florida Department of Transportation. Many of the vendors require the request for the video to be made in writing and they will only honor requests for 10-20 days. Therefore, these requests need to be submitted as soon as possible if fault is an issue.
- Accident Scene. Sometimes the scene of an accident can contain important evidence. As trial lawyers, we recommend the use of a forensic accident reconstruction expert to survey an accident scene, particularly if the accident involves a truck or large commercial vehicle.
- Property Damage. Take photos of your car before getting it fixed. The insurance adjuster will always take pictures and often they will get photos from angles that make the damage look minor. Take your own photos to disprove this adjusting tactic.
- Mail. You will likely start to receive a ton or mail or e-mails after a car accident, mostly related to your medical care and insurance. It is a good idea to make up a folder or find a safe place to keep all of this information.
Dunaway Law Firm, P.A. and Attorney Sam Dunaway would recommend that you call as soon as possible. If you call soon enough, we may be able to prevent the insurance for ever calling you. An initial consultation with an experienced Florida car accident attorney is free, confidential, and comes with no obligation on your part. We are here to help!
Also, might we ad that life after a car accident injury is difficult. You don’t need to make it worse by arguing with an attorney who lacks a personal touch. Go with someone who inspires trust, responds to your questions, and makes you feel comfortable.
Also, to get the full measure of justice for your injuries and damages from a car accident injuries, hire an attorney with a reputation for winning in the courtroom. 95% of case never go to trial, but 5% due. About 5% of the car accident attorneys go to trial. If the insurance companies think your attorney would prefer to avoid the courtroom, then the size of the settlements they are willing to offer will decline. Trial lawyers, in contrast, can make a stronger case for top-dollar settlements.