After you’ve been in a car, motorcycle or truck accident, many things run through your mind. Besides the stress and escalated adrenaline, you have to worry about personal injuries, damage to your vehicle, handling insurance claims and other related issues.
An experienced car accident attorney can be extremely helpful in negotiating the often confusing world of insurance claims and settlements. Steinberg Law can help you recover from losses resulting from a car accident or a motorcycle accident and handle the paperwork associated with car insurance claims.
We are committed to providing excellent representation in personal injury, wrongful death, property destruction and other related areas, especially where drunk driving, reckless driving, hit and run, distracted driving and speeding were involved.
After a motor vehicle accident, such as a rear-end collision, you will have peace of mind in knowing that a professional who is knowledgeable about the relevant laws and procedural rules is representing you. The time period following an automobile accident is hectic but very essential. What you do and say can greatly affect the case outcome, whether it’s against you or another liable party.
In Florida, there are myriad rules and regulations that can complicate your insurance claims and recovery of additional damages for severe injury or death. To help you recover from the losses incurred because of a motor vehicle accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and car repairs, it is important to speak to a car accident lawyer.
How can a car accident lawyer help you?
Although it all depends on the specifics and complexity of your case – for example, a rear-end collision may be different compared to a side-impact crash – an auto accident attorney generally can:
- Communicate with the other driver’s insurer. A car accident attorney will initiate a discussion with the insurance adjuster of the other party involved.
- Obtain the relevant evidence to prove liability in a car accident claim. If you have a car accident case, an accident attorney will work to uncover evidence that proves liability.
- Obtain medical information relating to your injuries and organizing your medical records and bills so that you can prove damages in your claim.
- Conduct negotiations to obtain a favorable and just settlement. Car accident attorneys will help you navigate the settlement process successfully.
When should you consult a car accident attorney?
When it is necessary to file a lawsuit against another driver(s), defend your own lawsuit or if you are having issues settling a car accident claim with your insurance provider.
Before deciding whether to represent yourself in a seemingly minor lawsuit, you should note that the lawsuit could become complicated and the consequences of litigation can be very serious. An accident attorney can prepare a sound and convincing theory of defense or prosecution that most non-attorneys cannot fathom.
Contact Steinberg Law Offices for a free consultation quickly after an accident. The longer you wait, the less likely you will be able to recover all the damages of which you may be entitled, including non-economic damages.
What to do after an automobile accident?
Even if you do your best to drive responsibly, accidents do happen. In early 2017, it was reported that there has been a total of 147,092 crashes in Florida, with the total injury count set at 94,674.
Here are some tips regarding what to immediately after an accident:
Stay at the scene
Don’t leave the accident scene until it is appropriate to do so. Leaving, especially when someone has sustained serious injuries or was killed, could cause you to face serious criminal charges for leaving the accident.
Witnessing or being involved in an auto accident can be immensely stressful. Whatever you do, make sure to remain calm. It is recommended to take a deep breath, park safely, and turn off your motor vehicle after the car crash occurs.
If you panic, you will only make matters more complicated. When you’re calm, you’ll be able to assess the damage quickly.
Make sure all drivers and passengers are not seriously injured
Before you exit your vehicle, you need to ensure that you’re not in any pain. If you are experiencing pain, you should remain in your motor vehicle until responders arrive.
If you are okay, then you should then check on passengers and any other potential car accident victims. If someone is severely injured, you should call for medical attention immediately. Avoid moving those that are severely injured until professional help arrives, as this could aggravate the injuries.
Call the police
If there is evident property damage, physical injury or death, a police officer needs to be called to the accident scene. While waiting for the police, make sure that your hazard lights are on to alert other drivers to steer clear.
If possible, you should also have a set of cones, warning triangles, or emergency flares. If the vehicles in the accident are operational, then move them directly off the main road. If your car is making unusual noises or is smoking, then you should not approach your vehicle until authorities arrive.
A police officer will make a report of the facts of the accident that will be used in insurance investigations and any potential lawsuits. Be sure to obtain a copy of the report. The officer will help determine driver negligence, such as a driver operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and will exchange information between you and the other driver.
No matter how minor the accident may be, you should file a police report. After all, injuries – such as a concussion – may not be immediately apparent, the damage to your vehicle may not be assessed properly, or the other party may make false claims against you.
Furthermore, a police report will help expedite the claims process with your insurance adjuster, which means a faster settlement of your claim. Not only that but if the accident is taken to court, then your attorney will need a copy of the police report.
When at the accident scene, you should ask for the contact information of the officer, in case you need to contact him or her.
There are some cases – such as extreme conditions or no injuries – in which the police will not arrive. If the police do not show, you should go to the police station to file the report.
Obtain relevant information
You need the essential information of everyone involved in the accident. Get their names, numbers, addresses, driver license numbers, license plate numbers and general insurance information from all the drivers. If the drivers refuse to show his driver license, then be sure to take a photo of the driver, so it can be proven that the driver was involved in the incident.
Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses at the scene so you have someone to call when investigations start. Additionally, write down a description of what happened. Take photographs of any damage to the vehicle(s) as soon as possible.
Remember: most cellular telephones are equipped with a camera.
Also, note any relevant facts surrounding the accident such as time, date, location and anything else you think is important. There are some smartphone apps, whether from the auto insurer or directly from an app store, to help document the car wreck.
The same above statements apply for those involved in motorcycle accidents.
Call your insurance company to report the accident
Explain the facts of your accident clearly and, if you plan on filing a claim, get the claim process started as soon as possible with the help of a car accident attorney. Furthermore, if you are involved with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, you should find out how your coverage applies to the automobile accident as you report the incident.
Your attorney can help determine who was at fault and help you obtain compensation for property damage and personal injuries from a car, motorcycle, or truck accident.
State only the facts and limit your discussion of the accident to your attorney, police and the insurance agent.
Accident scenes can be very stressful, but it’s important to pay attention to what you say. Try not to admit guilt or liability as there are other factors that could have played a role in the accident that may demonstrate that the other party was at fault.
Do keep in mind that Florida is in a no-fault insurance state, so you’ll be making a claim against your own insurance company, no matter who is at fault. In other words, no-fault insurance means that your insurance carrier will pay for either some or all of your medical treatment bills and lost wages, regardless of driver negligence.
However, in most no-fault areas, you cannot make a personal injury claim against the negligent driver unless your injury is determined as serious enough or your medical bills reach a certain amount.
Seek immediate medical attention
Obtain immediate medical attention for your injuries at a hospital or urgent care center. Otherwise, you or the other driver’s insurance company may attempt to argue that your injuries are preexisting and/or arising from an unrelated incident.
Also, be sure to document your medical treatment. Take note of the type of injury you’re suffering from, the length of time it takes (or will take, depending on the car accident injury) for you to recover, and the cost of the medical bills incurred. This includes physical therapy, medication, examinations, etc.
If you find yourself in a position where the car accident injury is long-term or permanently disabling, then you should speak with a personal injury lawyer, as you may be entitled to recovery for pain and suffering or non-economic damages.
Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer
Speak to an attorney as soon as possible to help you better defend yourself if at fault or to help you recover maximum compensation if another party, especially an uninsured motorist, caused the accident.
If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, you should contact a qualified attorney to help you. A person should contact an attorney within a week or two, but especially before reaching a settlement with the others driver’s insurance company – of course, you should report the accident as soon as possible to your insurance carrier. The earlier you make contact with a car accident attorney, the better.
As a general rule, if your total medical bills exceed $3,000 or if you are out of work for more than a week, you should hire a lawyer. Please note that if you do hire a lawyer, you will pay contingency fees, but you will only have to pay contingency fees if your lawyer is successful in handling the case. If no recovery is made, there is no fee.
Because every car accident case is different, you should consider getting a free consultation with Steinberg Law to review your claim and advise you if there is any need to be represented by an attorney. Contact either our Palm Beach Gardens or Delray Beach law offices if you have legal questions after an accident.