If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are several things to do to protect your rights and your health. The following is a short list of things to remember:
- IF YOU HAVE INJURIES AT THE SCENE then make sure you have addressed any injuries you may have or think you may have immediately, right at the scene of the accident. If you have any doubt or question about an injury, seek immediate medical attention. You have a right to be transported by an ambulance to a hospital if you feel you are injured. BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY!
- Use common sense at all times, do not get out of your vehicle in a high traffic situation, and consider SAFETY FIRST in following the advice on this page;
- CALL 911 and report the accident;
- MAKE A WRITTEN REPORT and do not let any police officer or other driver talk you out of that. Except in very minor accidents, police officers who are called to work an accident scene are required to make a full accident report.
- FOLLOW MEDICAL ADVICE of any Emergency Medical Technicians that may arrive on scene. Remember they are trained to look for things that may be wrong with you that you may not even notice or know about. Failure to follow this advice could cause you unnecessary medical problems and could also hurt your case.
- PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO – If you can, obtain as many pictures as you can of the scene, the vehicle damage and any other items with a camera or cell phone camera. Recording some video of the scene and damage is also a good idea if you can do it safely;
- NEVER MAKE A STATEMENT to any insurance company representative, even your own, before speaking with an attorney. You have a right to speak with an attorney and obtain legal advice before you make any decisions regarding any issue.
- SEEK FOLLOW UP MEDICAL CARE as soon as you can. A big mistake many people make is where they feel no pain at the scene of the accident but then later that day or the next day things start hurting. Some people try to “tough it out” only to finally give in days or weeks later when the pain doesn’t go away.
- 14 DAYS is usually the time you have to seek medical treatment in Florida after an accident. If you wait too long, you could lose some or all of your ability to collect insurance benefits.
- OBTAIN ADVICE from an experienced, competent attorney as soon as you can. Advice is always more useful early on in an automobile accident case or in any case for that matter.
Remember, your insurance company, as well as any insurance company that insures another driver is a business. They are not in the business of protecting you. They are in the business of collecting as much money as they can from selling their product and paying out as little as they can in claims. Insurance companies have both vast experience and vast resources at their disposal, and in many cases will seek to obtain information from you at a time when you do not yet have all the facts. ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU!!! However, unlike law enforcement, insurance company representatives don’t have to tell you that.
Insurance companies do not need all of the facts early on in a case in order to lock you down to a statement you make. This is because they and their agents know what questions to ask regardless of the actual facts and how to lock you into a position that is to their advantage and they know how to do it quickly and before you have an opportunity to know all you should know before speaking with them.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to follow the foregoing steps and remember that you need competent legal advice and representation any time you deal with an insurance company or other company that handles accidents on behalf of another driver.