Anyone who has ever been involved in an auto accident knows that immediately following the crash, you are not thinking clearly. You may be injured or even in a state of shock. Knowing what steps need to be taken and being prepared beforehand can save stress and time.
Make sure to have in your glove box – Your registration and insurance card. If you have an attorney you work with regularly or a service such as Legal Shield, also make sure that card is there as well.
After making sure everyone involved is OK, and if not getting prompt medical treatment for them by calling 911, the police should be called as well in order to file a police report so that the accident and details are on record.
Once that is accomplished, the following steps will ensure that any legal issues as well as your recovery go as smoothly as possible.
Step 1 – Exchange information
Phone Number (s)
Drivers’ License number(s)
*this includes passenger’s information in case they are injured.
**If there are witnesses, get their information as well.
Step 2 – Take photos
Most everyone has a camera phone these days. Taking pictures of any damage on both your vehicle and the other parties can ensure the courts and insurance companies are able to gage an accurate picture.
Step 3 – Once you leave the scene
If you have opted not to go to the hospital, please know that in the state of Florida as of January 1st,2014) you only have 14 days within which to seek medical care which will be mandated to be covered under the PIP accident coverage (Personal Injury Protection). After this time beginning treatment is far more likely to become your own financial responsibility.
Many people feel fine walking away from the accident itself. When traumatic events take place your body is put into a state of “fight of flight” – adrenalin, noradrenaline and cortisol run high as well as dopamine levels. They can mask injuries that you may not feel till the next day or even a few days afterwards.
When your body withstands impact, such as in an automobile accident, there is almost always trauma. Getting checked out by medical professionals is always a good idea.
Step 4 – Call your insurance agent
Explain in detail what transpired. A copy of the police report can also be obtained for the insurance company records. It’s important not to embellish. Lying or stretching the truth could lead to denial of coverage on an accident claim.
Step 5 – Get a damage valuation
If your car has been towed, you should be able to get that from the body shop where it has been taken. If it has not been towed and is drivable but damaged, consult your insurance agent. As an important note: You can also get 2 alternate independent valuations if you do not agree with the insurance company’s valuation.
Special Note – Injuries, Settlements, and who not to speak to
It is in your best interest if anyone at all is claiming injury to consult with an attorney. The reason is twofold. If you are hurt, they can help you to make sure your medical costs are covered and if you are found to be at fault they can help to defend you and your assets. Attorneys work on these cases based on a contingency fee (they only get paid if you collect a settlement). There is no out of pocket fee.
Do not talk to the other party’s insurance company or attorney without your attorney present. That is what they are hired for. Let them do the talking.
All settlement offers should go through your attorney. They will be able to best advise you if it is in your best interest or if you should continue to pursue legal action. No settlement should ever be accepted before your medical treatment is complete as there is no way to predict recovery or further complications.
The most important thing in an accident is to take care of yourself and allow yourself to heal. Having a solid team of professionals on your side and in place can make a world of difference.
Centennial Insurance Services is an independent agency which is able to assist with all of your insurance needs be it personal or business. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry they are able to do the leg work for you and eliminate the need for guessing. Give them a call today 239-247-5125 in Fort Myers, FL 904-598-1036 in Jacksonville, FL or visit https://www.cisinsfl.com/ for your free no obligation customized quote.