The moments after a car crash can be chaotic and confusing, especially if there are injuries. It is imperative to know what to do after a car accident in St. Petersburg, FL to ensure your rights are protected.
Having over 31 years of experience handling thousands of car accident cases, we want to bestow some of our knowledge on what you should do immediately after being in a car accident.
If possible, call 911 immediately, and ask for St. Petersburg police to be sent to the scene. If you or anybody else has been injured, ask that paramedics be dispatched too. The paramedics will treat you at the scene, and they’ll document their subjective and objective findings on your injuries. That will be the first record in a series of medical records from various providers that document the nature and extent of your condition. You will undergo more detailed examinations at an emergency room, and additional medical records will be generated there. Do not get talked out of calling police and paramedics.
Your insurance company requires timely notice of any accident. You are required to cooperate with your insurance company too, and you will need to provide them with any information that they need.
We strongly encourage you to contact an experienced car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg before giving any statements. You should not give any written or recorded statement to the at fault driver’s insurance company. Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys can help protect your rights and deal with the insurance company to ensure maximum compensation and rightful treatment.
Failure to give timely notice or cooperate can give your insurance company a legal basis to walk away from covering you. Your insurance card should have a number on it that you can call to report an accident.
You should be examined by a doctor immediately after the accident so that he can document your injuries in a written report. Typically, the shock and adrenaline from a major car accident could mask injuries and their severity. This is common with head and brain injuries where symptoms may not present immediately.
Many car accidents can also result in spinal cord injuries that permanently changes the sensation and strength of the body. These types of injuries can have lifelong effects and severely impact your quality of life.
The longer you take to see a doctor after an accident, the more difficult it becomes to substantiate that the car accident was the cause of your injuries. Depending on the injuries you’ve sustained, you will likely be referred to a doctor and possibly a specialist such as an orthopedist, or neurologist, or your own doctor. You will likely be referred out again for therapy. Do not miss any appointments in the chain of care and treatment for your injuries. Insurance companies look for gaps in treatment and missed appointments.
They will attack your credibility, and they will argue that you’re either malingering or faking. Any delays or gaps in treatment can adversely affect your case. Never give the opposing insurance company an opportunity to attack your credibility. Attend all of your medical appointments on time, and do what your treating physicians and therapists tell you to do.
Expect a phone call from the opposing insurance adjuster “just to find out how you’re feeling now.” He or she will ask for a tape recorded statement from you over the phone. Adjusters are trained in taking statements. You’re not trained in giving them. No law in Florida or anywhere else in the United States requires you to cooperate with the insurer of the person who turned your life upside down. Never give the opposing insurer a statement. The insurer or its attorneys will only try to use it against you in the future. When you enter into a retainer agreement with us, that adjuster will never bother you again.
Being involved in a car accident is a traumatizing experience. Contact the experienced car accident attorneys in St. Petersburg at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys.
Following necessary procedures after the accident will help you get a deserving settlement. Do not agree to settle your claim too early. Don’t get tempted into accepting a claim within the first month after the accident. Take time to examine the damage to your vehicle, injuries to your body and how they will affect your future financially. Do not rush to finish the claim settlement process. Impatience can make you more susceptible to accepting a poor settlement or settling your case before the full extent of your injuries are known.
Additional Resources: How to File an Auto Accident Claim in St. Petersburg?