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So You Have Been in a Car Accident. What’s Next? Time to Assess Your Situation.
Did the accident it involve another vehicle or did you crash into something?
Sometimes those trees just jump right out in front of us. Speed, poor weather, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are all common causes of car crashes involving a stationary objects.
If you or any passengers are badly hurt call 911. The ambulance and police will come out. Their records will help the speed along the car insurance process. You will most likely be liable for the accident and your insurance may help pay for your passengers medical bills.
If nobody is hurt and your car is still drivable, take pictures of the crash before leaving. You should be able to contact your insurance company to set up a claim to repair the damage. This kind of damage is only covered if you had collision insurance at the time of the accident. Otherwise you will have to pay for the repairs out of pocket.
Note: If you crashed into a parked car and the owner is not around, leave your Name, phone number and license plate on their windshield before leaving. Also report the incident to the local sheriffs office. Not leaving your information is known as a hit and run.
Your Damaged Car:
If your car is unable to drive contact a towing company or the police will contact a towing company for you
After you have calmed down, start by calling the police before even getting out of your car. If you are not terribly hurt and your car can drive, move it to the side of the road. Even if the accident is minor it is still a good idea to have law enforcement come inspect the damage and create a crash report. If you do not call them there is a chance the other driver will falsify their information to avoid getting their insurance involved. This will be less likely to happen when the police are involved. If you still chose to to contact them you will need to file a crash report within 10 days of the incident. Crash reports can be found here: http://www.fhp.state.fl.us/html/CrashReport.pdf
If you or your passengers are badly injured inform the 911 dispatcher that you will need an ambulance. The police should be able to collect the insurance information from the other driver.
If you are not badly injured take time to contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident. If you live in Florida you will be able to access your Personal Injury Protection Insurance or PIP. This will cover 80% of your medical expenses up to $10,000 and 60% of your lost wages. Do not be afraid to make a doctors appointment for an MRI as it should be covered. You only have 14 days after the accident to be able to access these benefits.
If the accident was not your fault it would benefit you to get in touch with a car accident attorney. These kinds of attorneys specialize in maximizing the compensation your receive for your injuries. If your injuries are bad enough, a hospital will quickly eat through your PIP. It’s up to your attorney to recover money from the at fault driver’s insurance company. You can attempt to negotiate with the insurance company without an attorney but the settlement offers are usually much smaller.
When you initially talk to your insurance company and you are injured, do not down play your injuries. If you tell them you are not injured and later find out you are, they will be more difficult to work with when you request medical bill payments.
Call 911 immediately.
If the person you hit owned a car their PIP should pay for their injuries up to $10,000 even though their car was not even involved. If it is found that you were at fault for the accident, your Bodily Injury car insurance will cover their medical expenses if their PIP is exhausted.
The Dummies Guide to Car Accidents
September 26th 2014