Sometimes when people are involved in a car accident the adrenalin rush in their bodies prevents them from doing things or saying things that they later regret. AFTER you have had an accident, you should, at the very least, thing about the following:
If you or someone you are with is hurt, get them appropriate medical treatment.
Once you are someplace safe and you can relax, take the time to write down everything you can remember about the accident, from start to finish. Include the following:
- Location (names of road(s), intersection with other roads, parking lot, etc…
- Weather, traffic conditions, construction or emergency vehicles, other accidents in the area;
- Where were you going and why; were you in a rush?
- Who was you with? (passengers); where was everyone sitting in the vehicle?
- What happened? (Were you hit from rear; did someone run a red light/stop sign; did someone swerve into you, etc…)
- Did you have a warning or know that an accident was going to occur? Could you brace yourself for impact? Wearing your seatbelt?
- Where were your hands/legs/eyes at the moment of impact?
- Did any part of your body strike any part of your car? Head hit headrest or side window? Arms/hands strike dashboard/steering wheel/stick shift?
- Did you feel the seat belt grab and lock onto you? Did your airbags go off?
- What was done right after the accident? What was said between the other drivers and yourself?
- Where did the vehicles come to rest after the impact? Were any moved later on, before or after the police arrived?
- Describe your discomfort/pain at various times: Right after the accident; an hour after; five hours later, etc…
- If you received emergency medical treatment (ambulance/fire-rescue/E.R.) what did you tell them about the accident? (wearing your seatbelt? Speed of other vehicles? Pain or discomfort in your body?)
Make a list of all medical providers you received treatment from and attempt to get the medical bills. If you did not have your auto insurance card available at the E.R., try to contact the E.R. billing department to give them this information as soon as possible.
Contact your auto insurance carrier and report the accident as soon as possible. Make sure you have as much detail about the accident, as the claims adjuster will ask you questions in order to start the “claims process.” Write down who you spoke with; time/date of conversation; claim number they give you; and any other information they provide.
You may wish to call the other auto carrier to verify that a claim has been set up; if a claim has not been started by the other driver, provide this auto carrier with only the basic information (date/location of accident; name of their insured driver/owner; police agency (if any) that responded; types of vehicles involved).
- DO NOT give any recorded statement.
- DO NOT tell them you have no injuries if you are hurting OR if you are not sure of your medical condition.
- IF you received emergency treatment but have not had a chance to get follow up treatment, tell them you will get back with them about your injuries and medical treatment.
REMEMBER, YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE YOUR AUTO INSURANCE COMPANY WITH COMPLETE COOPERATION AND HONESTY. IF YOU WANT YOUR CARRIER TO COVER YOU UNDER THE TERMS OF YOUR INSURANCE CONTRACT, YOU MUST HELP THEM UNDER THOSE SAME TERMS.
IF YOU ARE TAKING ANY MEDICATIONS WHEN YOU SPEAK TO THE ADJUSTER, LET THEM KNOW AS YOUR CONVERSATION MAY BE RECORDED.
YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY OBLIGATION TO SPEAK TO THE OTHER DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY. IN FACT, I RECOMMEND NOT SPEAKING TO THE ADJUSTER FOR ANY OTHER CARRIER (OTHER THAN YOUR OWN) UNTIL YOU HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH A LAWYER ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS.
The Right Experience on Your Side
I have practiced law in Florida for 20 years, and I’ve worked for the “other side.” As a former insurance defense attorney, I know the tactics insurance companies use to counter claims and blame the victim. When you contact Lopez & Rossi, we investigate immediately to document the unsafe conditions and interview witnesses to prove the slip and fall accident was caused by someone else’s negligence.
Contact a skilled trial lawyer who’s prepared to take on the insurance companies. You can reach me 24 hours at (813) 253-3351 for a free consultation, including evening and weekend appointments, and home or hospital visits. Se Habla Español.