Protecting Your Rights After a Car Accident is Vital
This article explains what to do after a car accident. It also explains why you should do these things to protect yourself and your family. My name is Matt Powell and I am a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar who has helped car accident victims for over 27 years.
I find when my clients understand why they should do certain things, they do the important things and avoid making costly mistakes. This simple guide will save you from making mistakes and keep you on the right path to protect your rights.
Quick List What to Do After a Car Accident:
- Call the Police – They will do an investigation and retrieve any information you may need about the other driver.
- Get Medical Attention Right Away – Adrenaline after a crash can mask pain and injuries, so you need to see a doctor immediately.
- Seek Follow-up Medical Treatment – If you are injured, it is important to make sure your injuries heal properly by treating regularly.
Why does this matter?
The actions you take immediately after a car accident will affect you throughout your claim and potentially your entire life. From proper medical treatment to understanding how to handle insurance adjusters, everything you do matters. There are two general themes about protecting your rights.
First, it’s about saving evidence about who’s at fault for the crash. Second, it’s about documenting the extent of your damages or injuries and proving they were caused by the negligent driver.
What to do After a Car Accident:
Here’s the Deal: Call 911 After a Car Accident
Call 911 immediately. Why? There are two reasons. First, you want the police to do an investigation. The police will identify the bad driver, the car owner, and the other driver’s insurance policy number. All of this information is critical to protecting your rights.
If this information is not collected or is inaccurate, your case’s worth will be low or zero. Using the police to collect all of the important details is the best and easiest way to make sure everything is accurate.
Second, the police will help determine who is at fault for the car accident. If the car accident is a big crash, the police will do a very comprehensive investigation. This means they will measure skid marks, take statements from eyewitnesses, make diagrams, and take photographs.
By calling 911, you are making a statement up front at the beginning of your claim about the severity and seriousness of the car accident. If you don’t call the police, then it could be a costly mistake.
What if the police are not called?
When the police are not called after a car accident, the insurance defense lawyer or claims adjuster may suggest the crash wasn’t a big deal because if you were really hurt, you would have called the police. The insurance company will use this to decrease the value of your case.
It will also be used to discredit you throughout the process of your case. This is why calling the police is number one on your list of what to do after a car accident.
That’s Not All: Get Medical Attention Right Away
Next, if you are hurt, getting medical attention right away is critical to protecting your health and your rights. Over and over, I see people who don’t think they are hurt because their adrenaline is flowing. Then they tell the police or EMS they are fine and don’t need medical attention. Next, a few hours, days, or even weeks later, they end up having very serious injuries.
However, every hour and every day you delay seeking medical attention will weaken your claim. The insurance company will use this against you throughout an injury claim.
Why? What happens if I go to a doctor later?
The insurance defense lawyer and claims adjuster love any delays between the crash and you seeing a doctor. This is because they can say, “You can’t be hurt now because you didn’t go in an ambulance right away.” Or, they will say “You went to the doctor days/weeks after the crash, so you are hurt from something else.”
The insurance company will attack your credibility for not seeing a doctor after a car accident. So, you called the police and went to the hospital in an ambulance. Now what can you expect?
The Most Important Part: Follow-Up Medical Care
You will need follow-up care and treatment. Go to the best doctors you can find. Doctors who specialize in treating accident victims. These include doctors familiar with the latest tests needed to diagnose and document your injuries. Even though your primary care doctor is probably an excellent doctor, they may not have time to document detailed reports of your injuries.
They also may not have the expertise to determine the cause of your injuries, document an impairment rating, or know if you have permanent injuries. Not seeking follow-up medical treatment can rapidly deteriorate your health in the future. This is a risk that is not worth taking.
What if I don’t go to the right doctors?
At the end of your case, all the insurance company will have to value your damages are your medical records. So, if your records don’t have a lot of detail and information, they will not pay you for your injuries. Or, if important tests were not ordered, then the insurance company won’t pay.
It also makes it hard for a jury to justify paying you. It is extremely important to seek medical treatment from doctors who specialize in accident injuries. Click Here to learn how to choose the best doctors for your specific types of injuries.
More Questions on What to do After a Car Accident?
If you have been hurt in an accident, there is a lot of information you need to know to protect yourself and your family. I hope you never need this information and your family never suffer a loss. I have found educating as many people as I can about what to do after a car accident helps them avoid costly mistakes.
After helping injured victims and their families for over 27 years, I am more than happy to educate people on the important issues that may arise after a car accident. Thank you for reading my article about what to do after a car accident. If you have a question, please do not hesitate to call me, Matt Powell at 813-222-2222. I would be glad to help you and your family.