How to Navigate Personal Injury Motor Vehicle Accidents Like a Pro
On average, Floridians spend way more on car insurance than citizens in other states. Our state ranks the fourth-highest for car insurance expenditures.
After paying all that money into insurance, you expect a good payout if you get in an accident. It may surprise you to learn that most serious personal injury claims get handled in court.
Your insurance can only pay so much, so you might have to look at other options after a bad crash. Are you unsure where to start or what to do after your accident?
No worries! We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn how to navigate your car accident claim like a pro!
What to Do Right After Your Crash
Immediately after your crash, it’s natural to feel confused, scared, and frantic. Do your best not to panic.
First, check yourself and your passengers for any serious injuries. Then, identify whether you’re in danger if your car remains where it is on the road. If you feel incoming traffic may hit you, then you’ll want to try to pull off to the shoulder.
Next, check on the driver of the other vehicle for serious injuries. If anyone is in bad shape, then it’s prudent to call 911. Otherwise, reach out to your local police station on their non-emergency line.
While you wait for the police to arrive, take pictures of the accident scene. Ask nearby witnesses to wait and give a statement to the police. Look around to see if any cameras could’ve captured the crash on video.
Get Medical Attention for Your Injuries ASAP
Next, you need to get medical attention for your injuries. If your situation is dire, then an ambulance will respond to the scene and take you to the hospital.
Otherwise, let the police wrap up their initial investigation. Ask them for a copy of the accident report. Then, drive yourself to the hospital. At the very least, make an appointment with your doctor right away.
Don’t wait several days before seeking out treatment. Doing so could put your potential compensation at risk. It could also cause your injuries to get worse.
Get a Repair Estimate for Your Vehicle
After you’ve dealt with your physical injuries, it’s time to turn your attention to your car. It likely suffered damage, but how bad will the repairs be? You won’t know until you bring your vehicle to a repair shop for an estimate.
Your insurance provider will expect you to go out and get at least one estimate. On top of that, they’ll likely send out their own adjuster to verify the fallout. The other party’s insurance company may want an independent estimate, too.
Create an Accident File
If your losses are stacking up, then you should create an accident file. This physical file should contain copies of:
- Your doctor’s diagnosis
- Medical bills
- Prescription receipts
- An estimate of the damages to your car
- A note from your employer regarding your lost wages and average income
The documents will serve as proof of your losses if you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in the future. Even if you don’t have to go to court, the documents can help you prove your losses to your insurance provider.
Estimate the Value of Your Claim
The most recent study looking at the total economic cost of car accidents showed losses exceeded $240 billion in a single year. Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing your own claim! Not sure where to start? Here are some numbers to consider when valuing your claim:
- The total cost of your medical care
- Any prescription costs
- The property damage to your vehicle
- Your lost wages
If you followed the step above, then determining these values should be easy. It’s also important to consider your non-economic losses. Did you suffer emotional distress after the crash? Were you diagnosed with PTSD?
Consider the value of your losses and compare it to what your insurance is providing. Are the figures comparable? If not, then it’s time to move on to the next step.
Hire an Attorney
Often, car accidents are traumatic. They cause life-altering injuries and even fatalities. When your losses are significant, you need an attorney by your side.
You could always attempt to negotiate with insurance companies yourself. Doing so puts you at a big disadvantage, though. Here’s what to look for in a potential attorney after an accident:
- Focus on personal injury law and car accidents
- Relevant experience
- Positive reviews from past clients
- Good results in similar cases
- Dedicated to communicating with you about your claim
- Someone who isn’t overwhelmed with several cases
You only have one chance to convince the court you deserve compensation. If you fail to do so, then you might not get another chance. That means you will have to pay for your losses even if your accident wasn’t your fault.
That’s why it’s so important to hire representation you can trust.
Be Careful on Social Media
Are you considering hiring a personal injury attorney? If so, then you’ve already determined that your losses are significant.
Don’t put your potential compensation at risk by posting on social media!
Anything you post online can (and will) get used against you in court.
If you can, then change your privacy settings on social media accounts. Avoid posting at all about the accident, your injuries, or your case.
Innocent photos of you having fun could get used as evidence. The other party might try to claim you aren’t as injured as you seem and use your photos as proof.
Handling Your Personal Injury Claim Like a Boss
With no-fault insurance laws, some car accident claims in Florida are straight-forward. You suffer a personal injury, and your insurance pays for your expenses. When your losses aren’t covered by insurance, though, things get complicated.
It’s a good idea to hire an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. Follow the tips above, and you’ll find yourself handling your claim like a pro!
Reach out to our experts on our online form now to learn more about how our firm can help.