What to Do if You Are Injured in a Car Accident
Imagine you are stopped at a red light, minding your own business. Suddenly, you feel a severe jolt as your vehicle is rear-ended. What do you do?
Do not get out of your car. Do not move your car from the accident scene. If you have a cell phone, call 911 and request an ambulance and a police officer. If you do not have a cell phone, wait for someone to come to your vehicle and ask that an ambulance and police be called.
Do not give any statements or make any comments to anyone at the accident scene except to indicate that you are hurt and are waiting for an ambulance and the police.
If the paramedics arrive first, be sure to complain about anything that is bothering you, even if it is not severe. The paramedics’ report is public record and the first documentation of any injuries. Request that an ambulance take you to the Emergency Room for a more complete evaluation. The Emergency Room records are an extremely important part of any future injury claim and confirm that you were hurt. Insurance companies are likely to increase their evaluation of a claim if the injured party was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Room. It is important for your own health and well being and the benefit of the case.
If the police officer arrives while you are still at the accident scene, explain that you were stopped, rear-ended, are injured and wish to go to the Emergency Room. Be sure that the police officer gives you a Driver Exchange of Information report which indicates the name, address and insurance company of the other driver.
When you return home, you should contact your own car insurance company to report the accident. Under the so called “No Fault Law”, each injured party is required to submit their medical bills to their own insurance company for payment at 80% under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Since you were not at fault, this will not affect your premium.
It is also very important to call an attorney who handles personal injury claims to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Many personal injury attorneys, including myself, will refer you to doctors with whom they frequently do business to treat you without incurring any out of pocket expense. The doctors will accept a letter of protection from the attorney to guarantee any payment of their bill not reimbursed by your PIP coverage. The new PIP law, effective January 1, 2013, should also be discussed with the attorney.
It is also important that you take pictures of your property damage prior to repair. This is particularly important if your accident resulted in a serious impact.
Please feel free to call me for a free personal or phone consultation regarding any issues pertaining to personal injury claims or car insurance coverage. I also offer free consultation for all matters regarding Wills, Trusts, Probate and Estates.
Serving Broward and Palm Beach Counties since 1973Be Smart!