Even in the most minor of car accidents, those involved will have a rush of adrenaline that can be overwhelming. As your mind attempts to process what happened, you may be confused and disoriented. At that moment, you will experience difficulty processing your thoughts.
More than 212,000 people were injured in Florida auto accidents in 2020. What those victims did in the minutes, hours, and days following the crash were important to any insurance claim they may have made against a negligent driver. Compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost income, and more, hinged on the steps they took after the accident.
Whether they did everything right following their crash or not, the personal injury clients I have represented in Jacksonville Beach, Jacksonville, and throughout the State of Florida benefitted from my two decades of experience as a personal injury attorney. At Glober + Glober, Attorneys, P.A., we guide injury victims through the steps they need to take and fight for fair and just compensation.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
The steps you should take following an accident will depend on the specific circumstances. For example, the extent of your injuries, your ability to remain calm, even the location of vehicles after a crash. In general, you should:
- Call 911 - Calling 911 allows law enforcement and emergency services to respond to the scene. The 911 call center will dispatch the proper personnel. In Florida, those involved in accidents must contact law enforcement right away if there are injuries, if someone flees the scene, if a vehicle cannot be moved out of the roadway, if a commercial vehicle is involved, or if someone is under the influence. In turn, law enforcement must submit a crash report within 10 days.
- Seek Immediate Medical Treatment - Even if you think you are not injured, seek medical treatment. Adrenaline can often mask injuries that are not obvious, such as hairline fractures or soft-tissue injuries. Even an accident that happens at very low speeds can cause injuries. Whether or not you are not examined by medical personnel at the scene, go to an emergency room, urgent care center, or your doctor’s office right away to make sure you get any treatment you might need. Your medical records will be crucial to your claim if something is wrong, as they provide documentation of your condition.
- Document Everything - If you are able, write down the other driver’s name, address, telephone number, and insurer information, as well as contact information for all witnesses to the crash. Also if you are able, take some photos of the scene with your smartphone. Other documents your attorney can request include copies of your medical records for related treatment and a copy of the crash report. You might also write down your account of what happened while it is fresh in your mind.
- Contact Your Insurance Company - Call your auto insurance company about the accident so they open a claim number. Most insurers require notification of an accident right away. If you have the other driver’s insurance information, pass it along to your insurer. The other driver's insurance company will want to speak with you, but it is advisable to meet with a personal injury attorney before deciding whether to speak with the opposing adjuster.
- Hire a personal injury attorney - Glober + Glober charges you nothing to meet to discuss your claim and does not charge attorney’s fees unless and until you receive money on your injury case. Retaining a personal injury attorney also allows the lawyer to begin investigating the crash and preserving evidence immediately. Plus, perhaps the greatest benefit to you is that once you retain an attorney, the insurance companies will bother you or attempt to get a statement from you, as all communication must go through your attorney.
What Can Harm My Claim for Damages?
There are always circumstances that may make pursuing a personal injury claim more challenging. Some are avoidable and some are not, but you should be aware of them.
The Negligent Driver Is Uninsured
If an uninsured driver caused the crash, you can file a claim against your own auto policy if you have uninsured motorist coverage. If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage and the negligent driver was driving his employer's truck or was on the job when the crash happened, you may elect to sue the company that employed the driver, if the company has assets.
You Fail to Account for All Damages
Florida’s no-fault laws require you to first use the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your own auto policy. You can only file a claim against the other driver’s insurance if your injuries are permanent within a reasonable degree of medical probability, disabling, disfiguring, or fatal. If you do not adequately estimate the cost of the treatment you may need for your injuries throughout your lifetime, you likely will not receive adequate compensation in a settlement or judgment.
You Settle Your Claim Prematurely
Although it is tempting to settle your claim right away so you have money to pay medical bills or make up for lost wages, you should be patient. You need to allow enough time to know the full extent of your injuries, whether you will make a complete recovery, and value of your economic damages before you agree to a full and final settlement of your claim.
The Insurer Extends a Low Initial Settlement Offer
Any insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible. They will invariably begin with a low offer that devalues your claim. The space between what you believe your damages are worth and what they are willing to offer can be a warning that documentation and evidence do not support a higher value.
Florida's Statute of Limitations
In Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to either settle a bodily injury claim or file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations in Florida for a claim involving death is two years. If you do not sue within the applicable limitations period, the court will bar the claim.
Glober + Glober, Attorneys Has the Experience You Can Trust
Documenting comprehensive and compelling evidence of the damages you incur as the result of an auto accident is something you might not want to do or be able to do on your own. I started my career working for insurance companies that viewed denying personal injury claims as victories. That is why I have represented personal injury victims for more than 20 years.
I understand how insurance adjusters and attorneys operate. I negotiate calmly and quietly with them; however, if they will not treat my clients fairly, I fight back.
If you have been injured in a Florida auto accident, wait no longer to call Glober + Glober. I represent personal injury victims in Jacksonville Beach, Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra, Saint Augustine, and throughout the state. You need experienced attorneys who know the law, the process, and how the other side works. I can help. We should get started right away. Call now.