If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, there are several steps that you need to take immediately.
Unfortunately, one of the most important steps that you must take needs to be addressed prior to the accident. It is imperative that you get the proper type and amount of insurance to cover, not only damages in case you hurt someone else, but also damages in case someone else hurts you through their negligence.
When you are purchasing automobile insurance in the state of Florida, I highly recommend that you purchase, not only the required personal injury protection benefits of $10,000, but also medical payments coverage of $5,000, which covers medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident no matter who causes it.
In addition, we find more and more that people who have caused a motor vehicle accident have either failed to purchase any bodily injury liability coverage, which would cover you for your injuries if someone else is negligent and hurts you, or they purchase minimal bodily injury liability coverage, which is woefully insufficient in covering your damages. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is imperative in today’s world where medical bills are increasing at record rates. I strongly urge you to purchase at least a $100,000 worth of uninsured /underinsured motorist coverage.
If you are a family or individual that owns multiple cars, please make sure that you choose the stacked version of uninsured/underinsured coverage. This means that for every vehicle that is on the policy, you will get another level of coverage. Say you purchase $100,000 worth of coverage and there are three (3) cars on the policy. You would actually have $300,000 worth of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you have any questions before meeting with your insurance agent, please feel free to give me a call to discuss these issues.
The next thing I would like to emphasize is how important it is for everyone to be wearing a seatbelt. I have watched over the last 25 years how effective seat belts can be in preventing deaths and serious injury, but only if they are being used.
Once you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, however, there are a number of steps you need to take.
Following a motor vehicle accident immediately call 911. Even if the accident is relatively minor, it is best to report it to the authorities and make sure that at least a cursory investigation is completed by the police. After you have called 911, simply stay in your car and wait for the police and ambulance to arrive. Do not hesitate to go to the emergency room by ambulance, if necessary, if you believe you may be injured. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. In addition, you may waive important claims and benefits if you fail to treat with a medical provider within 14 days of your accident.
It is also extremely important that you get photographs of all the vehicles involved in the crash, the scene of the crash and other damage such as skid marks and damage to property. This is important, so whether it is you getting out of your car and taking these photographs or calling a friend or family member to come and be with you and take the photographs while they are there, it needs to be done! I cannot express to you how important it is to have these photographs later for your claim. It is sometimes impossible to recreate the scene without photographs taken at the time of the crash.
Once the situation is stable, you should immediately contact an attorney. The accident needs to be reported to your insurance company and an experienced attorney can walk you through that telephone call and the recorded statement which is going to be required by your insurance company. I can assure you that once the insurance company for the person who hit you is notified, they will begin their investigation and begin preparing to make sure that this accident costs them as little as possible. If you are going to make a claim for compensation for the injuries you may have received in the crash, it is crucial that you are as prepared as the other side. I want to reiterate that before you contact either insurance company, you should speak to an attorney. You would not enter into a contract that may affect the rest of your life without speaking to an attorney, which is exactly what you may be doing by speaking to either insurance company prior to getting legal representation.