What to do if You are Injured in a Car Accident
Suffering injuries in a car accident can be very traumatic and can cause a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. With so much happening at once, it is easy to get confused about what you need to do. If you are injured in a car accident, it is likely that you will have medical expenses, lost wages from being unable to work, and often, hospitalization and rehabilitation costs. Following the proper steps is crucial in helping you get the compensation you deserve.
If you experience the immediate onset of pain, request that an ambulance take you to the nearest hospital. Because it is a trauma center, seriously injured people are often taken to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center. It is common to experience an adrenaline rush immediately after an accident, masking the extent of injuries and pain. Often, people do not feel pain immediately after a car accident, but suffer the onset of pain and stiffness several hours after the accident. It is also very common that people wake up the morning after an accident with severe pain. If this happens, we recommend you see either your primary care doctor or go the nearest emergency room.
Provide the hospital or doctor's office with your automobile insurance. In Florida, an injured person's automobile insurance will pay 80% of medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages, up to a total of $10,000.00. If you have health insurance, you should provide that as a secondary payment. The other driver will be responsible to pay the 20% of your medical expenses and the 40% lost wages not covered by your car insurance. The driver causing the car accident will also have to pay for all medical expenses and lost wages above the $10,000.00 limit.
If the accident was anything other than a rear end collision, it may be very important to have the names of witnesses to the accident. If possible, get witnesses’ names, addresses, license numbers and phone numbers. Sometimes, the police will fail to include the names and contact information for the witnesses in the Florida Crash Report. It is also important to note if the other driver admits fault for causing the accident, as this can be admissible evidence if a trial is necessary in your case.
Promptly report the claim to your own auto insurance company. However, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney prior to giving your own insurance company a recorded statement. We also recommend that you do not speak with the at-fault driver's insurance company at all.
Be sure to take pictures of the damage to your car if possible. The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words," is especially applicable here. It is much more compelling to an insurance adjuster or a jury to see a picture of severe damage to a car, than to merely have the damage described. Likewise, taking pictures of your injuries, including wounds, bruises, bandages and casts, is also a good idea and can help an adjuster understand the severity of your personal injuries.
Finally, we recommend that you discuss the matter with an attorney early in the process. Doing so is free and can often ease burden and worry. If you suffer an injury from a car accident anywhere in the Jacksonville or Northeast Florida area, please contact our firm for a free consultation. If we accept you case, you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you.