What to Do After a Car Accident
South Florida is known for its notoriously bad drivers. Sooner or later you may get into a car accident. Hopefully, it will just be a minor fender-bender without any injuries. In either case, you need to be prepared for how to handle the situation before it arises. It's common to feel overwhelmed and anxious immediately following a car accident. After it happens is not the time to figure out what to do! Follow our guide on best practices for what to do after a car accident. Make sure you are best positioned to protect yourself physically and financially.
1. Stop Your Vehicle & Check for Injuries
Check if yourself or any other passengers are injured. If so, call 911 or ask someone else to do so. If you're seriously injured, try not to move and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
2. Call the Police
It doesn't matter whether the accident is a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important. The police will write a report of the incident, and possibly issue citations for any infractions. A police report and any citations against other drivers can help bolster your case in legal matters.
3. Take Pictures & Gather Information
At this point, get to safety. Move to the side of the road or the sidewalk as long as you are able to and aren't injured. Take pictures of the scene. Document the cars, and location, and any injuries you may have. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s).
4. Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical treatment for your injuries right away. You only have 14 days from the date of the accident to seek medical attention before you potentially lose your legal rights to compensation. The rationale is that if you wait over two weeks to seek medical attention then your injuries are unrelated to the accident or insignificant. The medical care you seek can be a hospital, urgent care, or any doctor's office including the chiropractor.
The most important thing though is that you get this accomplished within 14 days to secure your personal injury protection benefits. What are personal injury protection benefits, you ask? Your auto insurance provides $2,500 in medical care costs, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If a doctor determines that you have suffered from an emergency medical condition, this amount can increase to $10,000. If you end up in the emergency room, this entire amount could be used up before you even leave. Which brings me to my next point.
5. Get a Lawyer
There are personal injury lawyers whose entire job is to make it as easy as possible to navigate the system, and that you file all the right forms and secure the most financial protection. It's pretty complicated traversing it alone, so I recommend hiring a personal injury attorney in order to make sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to.
If you aren't at fault, wouldn't you want to make sure your medical bills are taken care of by the person who caused the accident? If you need help, we can refer you to trusted professionals who have years of experience in personal injury and make the process easy. All you have to do is show up for your medical appointments and we take care of the rest as a team.
If you have any questions about the process, give our office a call or send us an email and we'd be glad to answer any questions you have regarding the process. We can also get you connected to the right resources for legal help, should you or your loved ones need it. Know someone who was recently in a car accident? Send them this article!