Important Things to Do After an Accident
Informing Victims of their Rights and their Options
Anyone who lives in Miami, Coral Gables or anywhere in South Florida knows that we have some of the worst traffic in the world. People drive aggressively and carelessly. They speed, cut you off and slam on the brakes in front of you. They make lane changes while text messaging, they watch televisions that they have had mounted on their dashboards, and they can’t hear your horn because the stereo is too loud. The end result of this is that we have plenty of traffic accidents in our city. While many of these accidents are fender benders that result in little more than property damage, but some of them cause serious injuries.
You should consider yourself lucky if you make it through a car accident without any injuries. But you must keep in mind that you should not pronounce yourself in perfect health in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Some of the signs and symptoms of muscle tears and other physical conditions do not show up for some period of time, and you should never declare yourself to be without injury until you have been cleared by a doctor.
The time immediately following an accident is a critical part of whether or not you will be successful in filing a personal injury claim for your injuries. Gathering your wits and taking action could be the difference between receiving fair compensation for your damages and getting far less than you should.
Necessary Steps to Recovery
Thankfully, there are steps that you can take that will help you avoid being taken advantage of by the insurance companies that are involved. By following these steps, you will be protecting your rights as well as your financial future.
- Call 911 Immediately – It is important to report the accident to law enforcement officers even if there is no obvious medical trauma. When police officers arrive, they will conduct a basic investigation and interview any witnesses in order to get a clear picture of the accident. This usually includes accident reconstruction as well. The law enforcement officers will also gather the other driver’s insurance and other contact information.
- Record the Scene to Your Best Ability – Use your cell phone to take pictures of the scene of the accident and get the names and license plate numbers of witnesses as well as the other driver. You should not leave the scene of the accident before you are examined by paramedics. This is to help ensure that you will not wake up the next day with serious pain.
- If Injured, go to the Doctor Immediately – Delaying medical treatment is the worst thing that you can do for your body and your injury claim. Insurance companies often take advantage of accident victims who don’t seek medical treatment immediately after an accident and they will try to prove that you suffered your injuries aside from that accident. It is also important to be honest during your doctor evaluation. Exaggeration and not telling the full truth can hurt you in court.
- Call Your Attorney & Insurance Company – You should make a phone call to your insurance company even if the accident wasn’t your fault. Before you do so, however, you should call a legal professional who can make sure you portray the accident scene correctly. You will be asked to provide information such as the name of the other driver to the names of witnesses and police officers who were at the accident.
- Be Careful about Signing Documents from Insurance Companies – In the event that the accident is clearly the other driver’s fault, you will likely receive an offer from that driver’s insurance company in the months following the accident. Insurance companies will often send an adjuster who will offer you cash money to settle the case and some forms to sign. These forms usually mean that you will free them from any future liability. DO NOT SIGN these forms without having a legal professional look over them first . In the event that your medical condition worsens in the future, you will not be able to seek additional compensation if you sign these forms. Insurance adjusters will try to befriend you and charm you into accepting their offer, but be wary of their offer until you have consulted your attorney.
- Keep Track of Everything – Keep record of your doctor’s appointments, e-mails, phone calls, notes about your medical condition and progress since the accidents. You will probably have follow-up appointments with other doctors in order to go over your treatments and symptoms. Keep records of these appointments too. Everything can be used to prove your case for compensation.
Help from an Experienced Team
Here at Klemick and Gampel, P.A., we will walk you through each of these steps and protect your rights from the moment you call our firm. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in the Miami or South Florida area, contact our firm for a free consultation today. Klemick and Gampel, P.A. is one of the premier injury law firms in the Miami, Florida area. We take pride in helping people in Miami, Boca Raton, Coral Gables and all of South Florida get back on their feet after suffering from injuries that were no fault of their own.