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You look up into the rear view mirror and you know it is going to happen, but there is nothing you can do about it. You are about to be rear-ended. And then it happens. In a split second your life can be altered in a drastic way because of an auto accident. Now what? The answer to that question will depend on whether you are injured and if so, the severity of your injury. Here are some tips:
• If Possible Safely Exit Your Vehicle
• Get Medical Assistance If You Are Injured If you need emergency medical assistance call as soon as possible at the scene of the accident. I often speak with victims of automobile who may feel minor pain or not feel any pain at the initial scene of the accident. However, the next day they start to feel pain. If that is the case, get medical help as soon as possible.
• Follow The Treatment Plan Of Your Medical Provider If you are injured and seek medical treatment, follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Down the road an insurance adjuster or a defense attorney for the other party will be reading your medical records. If your records are replete with missed appointments, failure to follow the advice of your doctor, failure to get recommended diagnostic tests, etc, you can rest assured that you will hear about this later from the other side’s insurance adjuster or defense attorney.
• Call The Police At The Scene Of The Accident You want to police to respond and document what happened. They will help determine who was at fault and they will be able to get statements from witnesses.
• Take Pictures Yourself Assuming your physical condition allows it, take pictures of all of the cars involved – inside and outside; take pictures of any injuries you may have, cuts, bruises, lacerations, etc. take pictures of skid marks; take pictures of anything that appears relevant – the beer cans sitting in the at fault driver’s front seat for instance.
• Get Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers Of Any Witnesses Even though you have called the police, you want to make sure that you have this information. You don’t want to be in a position later where you would have liked to have had a witness’ information; but now it is gone forever.
• Don’t Make Statements To The Other Driver’s Or Witnesses Florida Law requires that you provide information to law enforcement when they are investigating a crash. This information is privileged by law and cannot be used in a subsequent civil or criminal proceeding. However, if you admit liability to other driver’s or witnesses, these statements can be used in a subsequent civil or criminal proceeding.
• Call An Attorney Before you make any statements or sign any documents, it is important to consult an attorney about you claim. They will be able to advise you about any rights or obligations that you may have under your own insurance policy. The insurance companies (the other driver(s)’ and yours) will be investigating your claim as soon as possible. You attorney will also be able to investigate your claim and act in YOUR best interest. Your attorney will be able to investigate who is at fault and determine whether there is additional insurance coverage which may cover your damages for personal property and personal injuries.
• Notify Your Insurance Company About The Accident Usually as a condition of your insurance policy providing coverage for your claim, you will be required to notify the insurance company.
Finally, although this is closing the barn door after the horse has left, it is important to be proactive with your insurance coverage. Make sure you have proper coverage BEFORE you get into an auto accident. If you have any questions about your policy contact your insurance agent or contact an attorney.