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Steps to Take After a Car Accident

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Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Brubaker Injury Law

September 5, 2023

You’ve been involved in a car accident, and you’re hurting. Most clients, especially those who have never had a personal injury claim, don’t fully appreciate the importance of the moments after a collision and how their actions can affect the success of their personal injury claim in the months and years that follow.

Your health is more important than any advice contained in this article. If you suffer a severe or catastrophic injury, you should wait for the ambulance to arrive and allow medical professionals to assist you before you concern yourself with taking the steps listed in this article.

The steps listed below should be taken by those who don’t feel pain right away or those who feel injured but intend to seek out medical care after leaving the scene. Many, if not most, of the injuries sustained in a car accident aren’t fully understood until weeks or months after the accident. If you are able to remain at the scene before seeking medical care, you should take the following actions to strengthen and protect your personal injury claim.

  1. Call the Police
    Immediately after an accident, you should call the police to ensure that there is a report of the collision. It is not uncommon for an at-fault driver to express remorse and plead with you not to call the police. They may offer you money or agree to pay the damages to your car. Although they may be persuasive, and you don’t want to get anyone in trouble, failing to call the police to obtain a report may seriously jeopardize your personal injury claim. The person who was so apologetic at the scene may tell their insurance carrier a different story about the accident. In other words, they may blame you for the collision! Without the benefit of a police report, it may be your word against theirs. By calling the police to the scene, you ensure that your version of events is recorded. An experienced police officer can review the damage to the vehicles, compare the stories of those involved in the collision, and determine fault based on the evidence. Furthermore, if you are feeling pain or any other symptoms of injury, you must note those complaints to the police officer. The police officer may not ask if you are injured. If you do not state your medical symptoms to the police officer, they may note that there were no injuries reported on the scene. An insurance carrier may latch on to the lack of injuries, as noted in the police report, in an attempt to undervalue your claim.
  2. Survey the area for witnesses
    A witness to the collision is an invaluable resource to the police officer and your personal injury attorney. Most witnesses do not choose to wait at the scene to speak with a police officer about an accident in which they were not involved. If the witness is unwilling to stay at the scene until police arrive, ask for the witness’s name, phone number, and address so that your attorney can reach out to them to take their statement at a later date.
  3. Photograph the scene
    As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Police officers do not always photograph the scene of the accident, so if you are able, it is important that you photograph as much of the scene and the damages to the vehicles as possible. The photographs may prove to be invaluable in resolving questions of liability and causation at later stages in your personal injury case. The photographs may also help your attorney determine whether the defendant was working for a corporation at the time of the accident. For example, photographs of the defendant driver and his vehicle may show company advertising, which may lead to a corporate defendant with extensive insurance coverage pursuing the case.
  4. Seek medical attention
    Perhaps you were injured in a car accident, but your post-accident symptoms were not severe enough to warrant an ambulance or a trip to the hospital. Often, the injuries sustained in an accident increase in severity or do not fully arise until several days after the collision. If you are feeling pain, discomfort, or any other medical symptoms related to the accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention within fourteen (14) days of the collision. If you fail to seek medical attention within fourteen (14) days of the accident, then your insurance will deny your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, and you will not receive this important medical coverage. Most of our clients never experienced pain in their neck or back prior to an automobile accident, so they don’t know where to turn for post-accident medical attention. At Brubaker Injury Law, our primary goal is to ensure that victims of negligence receive the medical attention they deserve in order to diagnose their injuries and recover their health.  Our firm has relationships with medical providers throughout the State of Florida. We can help you find a conveniently located medical provider that will provide treatment through your PIP coverage.
  5. Call your lawyer before you call the insurance company
    Proper insurance coverage is important to protect us all from the unexpected and from circumstances outside of our control, but the insurance company is not motivated to pay out on claims. The insurance adjuster assigned to your case is incentivized to deny and/or limit the potential value of your personal injury claim. Much of their questioning is made with the purpose of gathering information to deny or limit your case. An improper response to their questioning may jeopardize the viability of your claim. For this reason, your lawyer should handle all the communication with the insurance company. When you retain Brubaker Injury Law, we take immediate action by placing the insurance carriers on notice, requesting copies of the relevant insurance policies, and ensuring that evidence is preserved.

Brubaker Injury Law is a client-focused law firm. Our team has recovered tens of millions of dollars for clients injured in auto accidents. If you or someone you know has sustained injuries in an auto accident, contact us today for a free, no strings attached consultation.

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