A motor vehicle collision can be frightening, causing minor injuries or catastrophic trauma to its victims as well as costly property damage. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are at least 200,000 accidents annually in the state. The following tips may help you if you are involved in a collision.
Do get out of harm’s way.
- When involved in a motor vehicle accident, the primary concern is ensuring everyone is safely away from any oncoming traffic. Florida law requires that you move your vehicle if it impedes traffic flow or if there is only property damage incurred.
Do call your insurance company.
- If you are able to, contact your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident, even if you believe you are not the at-fault party in the collision. Florida is a no-fault state, and you will need your insurance carrier to open a file to extend medical and lost wage benefits to you as soon as possible.
Do have a medical assessment within fourteen days of the accident.
- Be aware that soft tissue injuries and even serious internal injuries may not be symptomatic right away. You may feel fine after the initial shock of the accident but later develop serious medical issues. Failure to do so may mean your insurance company may not extend medical benefits or lost wage benefits to you.
Do follow your physician’s instructions and the prescribed treatment regime.
- Many insurance companies use your failure to go to the doctor or follow the doctor’s treatment schedule against you when evaluating your claim. It is wise to keep a journal or file with all prescription receipts and medical records you receive. Keep notes on how the injuries affect your day-to-day activities.
Do not move your vehicle if someone is injured in the collision.
- Even in property damage cases, especially parking lot collisions, do not move your vehicle unless you impede traffic. Wait until you are directed by the law enforcement agency on the scene. If necessary, photograph the vehicles as they sit after the impact. It will help establish liability.
Do not make any statements to the other driver about the collision.
- Statements to the opposing driver can be used as an admission of guilt if the case goes to court over your injuries. DO NOT apologize.
Do not leave the accident scene until you receive the other driver’s insurance information.
- If you are transported from the accident scene for medical care, law enforcement will seek you out and most likely provide you with a Driver Exchange of Information form. This document has important information, such as the names of the drivers, owners of the cars involved in the collision, and possibly the names of the insurance companies involved in settling the claim.
Do not be afraid to seek medical treatment from a different physician.
- If you feel your doctor is not responsive to your injuries, it is time to seek an alternative health care provider. Remember, the doctor is there to treat your injuries, and if you are not confident about the care you receive, you may not get better.
Do not give the other insurance company a recorded statement after the accident.
- There is no law in Florida requiring that you give a recorded statement to the opposing driver’s insurance carrier. A recorded statement can be beneficial in establishing the potential value of your case, the decision of liability, and your damages. However, a recorded statement can damage your case and prevent you from recovering compensation.
Do not diminish or minimize your injuries.
- If you are hurt, tell the adjuster you are hurt. If you are going to the doctor, tell them you are going to the doctor. If they ask, “How are you?” DO NOT say, “I’m fine.” It will mean you are not injured and were not injured in the accident. I know it is nice to be polite, but you can be polite without saying, “I’m fine.”
Do not sign anything from any Insurance Company before seeking legal counsel.
- Every insurance company sends out medical records releases to accident victims. They use these releases to get your life-long medical records and may attempt to attribute your injuries to pre-existing conditions.
DO CONTACT Briggs Law Firm
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have every right to seek compensation for the damages you have incurred. Insurance companies do not act on your behalf. Their goal is to minimize your settlement amount.
At The Briggs Law Firm we are aggressive motor accident attorneys that can protect your legal rights. Our office is located in Ocala, Florida. Schedule a Free Consultation for all personal injury cases at (352) 671-4600 .