I Was Just In A Car Accident, What Now?
Have you ever wondered what you should do immediately after a car accident? What should should do at the actual scene of the accident? What should you do in the days, weeks, and months after an accident? Below is a list of the 20 things that you should do after being involved in a car accident.
To help with this post, I have separated the below items into four groups:
5 things to do at the scene of a car accident
5 things the day of a car accident
5 things to do during the two weeks after a car accident
5 things to do to maximize the value of your car accident claim
5 Things To Do At The Scene Of A Car Accident
The first thing that you should do after a car accident is to refrain from panicking. You will be in shock immediately after a car accident and it may take a couple of minutes to make sure that you are okay. In the immediate moments after your car accident, take a minute to take a deep breath. You need to recognize what happened. Once you take a deep breath, check to make sure that you did not suffer a life-threatening injury.
Get to a Safe Location
Most car accidents in Florida are rear-end collisions. Sometimes the cars will be totally disabled as a result of the accident. Other times you will be able to move your car. Regardless of how your accident happened, you need to make sure that you are in a safe area. For example, after a car accident on I4, you need to make sure that you are far enough off the highway so that you are not struck by a car that is passing by.
Check to See if the Other Person Is Injured
Even if the other person caused the accident, it is still important that you check to make sure that they are not severely injured. Once you take a moment to come to your senses, confirm that you are not suffering from life-threatening injuries. If you are able to, confirm that the other person involved in the accident is not suffering from life-threatening injuries.
Call the Police
After you have confirmed that you are not suffering from life-threatening injuries and are in a safe place, immediately call 911. Do not assume that someone else called 911. Call 911 yourself and confirm that both the police and paramedics are in route to the scene of the accident. Never exaggerate the facts of the accident when speaking with the police. At the same time, do not assume you have “no injuries” because you are able to walk around after the accident.
File a police report
Cooperate with the police and tell them what happened. Make sure that you provide as much detail as possible about the accident. The police will often ask if you have any injuries. Remember, many times injuries after small-to-medium car accidents will not present for a couple of days or a week after an accident. This is because your adrenaline is combating the inflammation. Make sure to get a copy of the Florida Driver Information Exchange from the responding officer. Also make sure to ask the police officer for the accident report number. Make note of the responding agency (IE Orlando Police Department or Florida Highway Patrol) and keep the report number in a safe place.
5 Things To Do The Day Of A Car Accident
Seek Medical Attention
Seeking medical attention soon after your accident is one of the most important things you can do. Seeking medical attention shortly after your accident will help to identify any injuries. It will also help to identify any injuries that you do not already know about. After you seek medical treatment, you must follow your doctor’s orders and suggestions. This means taking any prescribed medication exactly as directed by the ER doctor. This may help with the recovery for your injuries.
Go to the emergency room if you have serious injuries
Sometimes it is not necessary to go to the emergency room after a car accident. Other times it is absolutely necessary. If you are suffering from any serious injuries after a car accident, it is important that you go to the emergency room. This is to confirm that you are not suffering from a life threatening injury. This is especially true if you hit your head on the airbag, seat rest, or windshield during the car accident. It is imperative that you seek medical attention if there is a strike to your head. You may suffer a brain bleed or some other type of closed head injury that you are unaware of.
Go to the Urgent Care if you do not have life-threatening injuries
If your injuries are less serious – such as minor neck or back pain, or pain in your shoulder – you can go to an urgent care to seek medical attention. Urgent cares offer similar medical care to the emergency room often at a much more affordable price. Additionally, sometimes urgent care will have a shorter wait time to see the doctor. Urgent cares are a great alternative to emergency rooms.
Keep Track of the Medical Paperwork you Receive
Whether you go to an urgent care or an emergency room keep track of the paperwork you provided by the doctor. This includes any discharge paperwork they give you. You will also want to keep track of any medical bills or invoices that you receive.
If you had to pay out of pocket for your medical care, it may be possible to have these costs reimbursed. This is something that will come later once your insurance claim is reported. Additionally, it is important to maintain your “discharge summaries” so that you can follow the plan of care prescribed by your doctor. You will want to fill any prescriptions that the doctor prescribes. Make sure to take the medication exactly as instructed.
Take it Easy Once You Get Home
After you finish up at the accident scene and finish at the emergency room or urgent care, you will want to rest and take it easy the rest of the day. Do not push yourself. You will also want to consider calling out of work the next day. Remember, it may take several days for the extent of your injuries to show, so it is important that you take the medication prescribed by your doctor. This can help to reduce the inflammation and help you with your recovery.
5 Things To Do The Week After A Car Accident
Call a Personal Injury Attorney
After you have finished filing a police report and sought medical treatment, call a personal injury attorney. Speaking with an Orlando personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident can help to maximize the value of your Orlando car accident case. This is because speaking with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident will help to protect your rights as an injured victim.
File the claim with your insurance company
Once you are home, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. You should know that you are not required to do this immediately after a car accident. You are required to report the claim within a “reasonable time” after the accident, which typically means about 30 days within the accident. Many people think that they need to file the claim with their insurance company immediately. If you hire a personal injury attorney, they should take care of filing the claim with your insurance company.
File the claim with the other insurance carrier
After filing the claim with your insurance company, you should take the time to file the claim with the other insurance carrier. Under no circumstances should you do this before speaking with a personal injury attorney. This is because if you retain a personal injury attorney, they will report the claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier on your behalf.
Having an attorney assist you is the best thing to do after a car accident. An Orlando personal injury attorney has experience in reporting these types of claims, and will do so in a manner that is most beneficial for you.
Take photos of your injuries
If you have any visible injuries as all – a cast, broken arm, cut, bruise, scrape, etc. – you should take photos of these injuries. This is to document the injuries that you sustained in the accident. These photos can be used later to help prove your injury claim and to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.
Take your car to get repaired
After filing the claims with the insurance companies, you should drop your car off to be repaired. If you have collision insurance, it is typically the better to have your own insurance carrier complete the repairs on your vehicle.
The other option would be to work with the at-fault diver’s insurance company to handle the vehicle repairs. In my experience, having your insurance company complete the repairs runs smoother than relying on the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make the repairs. Again, this is something that an Orlando personal injury attorney can help with.
5 Things To Do To Maximize The Value Of Your Car Accident Claim
Obtain medical treatment for your injuries
The most important thing that you can do to maximize the value of your personal injury claim is to document your injuries. This is done through obtaining medical treatment for the injuries that you sustained as a result of your car accident. Additionally, you will want to obtain treatment for your injuries to ensure that you recover from your injuries.
Follow the treatment plans that you and your doctor discuss
When you do get treatment for your injuries, it is important to follow the treatment plans prescribed by your medical providers. This means attending the therapy sessions and taking your prescribed medication as directed. You should ensure that you like the doctors who you are treating with and that you agree with the treatment plan that they provide to you.
Stay in communication with your personal injury attorney
Your personal injury attorney will take care of filing the car accident claim. They will file the claim with any applicable insurance that may provide coverage for the accident.
Besides this, your personal injury attorney can help answer questions about the claim. They will also be there to help clarify questions that might arise about your medical care. This is why it is important to keep an open line of communication between you and your personal injury attorney.
Provide your personal injury attorney with your medical bills
One of the most important things that you can do is to provide your personal injury attorney with copies of the medical bills. When you receive any bills related to your car accident, send a copy of the bill to your attorney. This will help to ensure that your attorney notates the bill in your file.
If your attorney is able to successfully get a settlement for your case, he or she can pay the bill from the settlement. Your attorney needs to know about the bill to pay it.
Take photos of your medical treatment
Taking photos of your medical treatment will help to maximize the value of your personal injury claim. Ideally, you can take photos periodically throughout your treatment to show what you went through as a result of your car accident. This includes taking photos of you going through therapy, getting injections, or after surgery.
Photos of victims going through surgery can work to show an insurance company the significance that the car accident had on your life. Of course, make sure to send the photos to your personal injury attorney. Your attorney will want to include those photos in any demand package that they send to the insurance company.
Brian Dunmire – Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer
About the Author: Attorney Brian Dunmire handles personal injury matters throughout the Orlando and Central Florida area. He graduated from Florida State University School of Law. Prior to becoming a personal injury lawyer, Brian Dunmire worked as an insurance defense attorney, representing insurance companies. Brian Dunmire is the founder of Dunmire Law, a personal injury law firm located in Winter Park, Florida.
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