What To Do In An Accident
WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY
- Remain at the scene, get yourself to a safe location and turn on your flashers. Vehicles should remain in place unless they are blocking traffic or create a danger. If the vehicles must be moved, document the location of the vehicles at the time of the accident.
- Call 9-1-1. If there has been an injury, request an ambulance. Regardless of how minor you think the auto accident is, you should always report it to the police. Unless you have been injured and need medical treatment, do not leave the scene until the police have arrived and have your statement about what occurred.
- If you are injured in the accident you should go to the emergency room immediately. If your injuries are not emergencies, see a doctor as soon as you can after the collision.
- Get as many details of the accident as possible. Take pictures of the accident scene, damaged vehicles and any injuries sustained. (Most cell phones have cameras) If you do not have a camera, make a diagram and write down descriptions including distances, property damages, skid marks and injuries. We have provided space in this brochure to detail important information.
- Get the names and numbers of any witnesses to the accident who may later be able to help prove your claim, including passengers in other vehicles. The more detail you can provide your attorney the better.
- Get the names, telephone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, vehicle and insurance information of the other parties involved in the collision. Do not admit to any fault or apologize to anyone.
- Keep a written account of any conversations and dealings with the other individuals involved in the accident, police or rescue personnel and any witnesses. Do not discuss the accident with insurance investigators that may arrive on scene. You are required to cooperate with your own insurance company, but have the right to have an attorney present.
WHAT TO DO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
- Contact the Law Offices of Walter F. Benenati at 407-777-7777 to speak with an experienced automobile accident attorney. Any delay will affect the firm’s ability to properly investigate the scene of the accident and speak with witnesses while memories are still fresh.
- Contact your insurance company as soon after the accident or injury as possible. You will need to put them on notice of the accident and make a claim under your applicable insurance policy depending on your coverage. Apply for Personal Injury Protection benefits (‘PIP”), and if you have purchased it, medical payment coverage, collision coverage or other appropriate benefits. Be truthful about the accident, injuries and any prior accidents and injuries so that your claim is not denied for fraudulent reasons.
- Review all insurance policies that may provide coverage for the particular accident or injury. You may have multiple insurance policies from which to recover benefits for the accident.
- Keep records of all of your medical appointments and costs. Save receipts, bills and proof of any out-of-pocket payments for any and all expenses relating to your claim such as bills for any repair work on the damaged vehicle, and any medical costs incurred for the treatment of any injuries including prescription expenses.
- Keep a diary of your activities of daily living and how the injury is affecting you and your family. Be as detailed as possible. In most cases, it will take some time to recover from your injuries and attempt a resolution of your claim. If you do not write down details, you may forget some of the problems you encountered, how the pain affected your abilities and how you suffered physically and emotionally.
- If you have rental reimbursement coverage, you can have your insurance company reimburse your for renting another vehicle while yours is being repaired or replaced. Find out how much your insurance company will pay per day for a rental car and how many days the rental car will be covered.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- Do not leave the scene unless you need to seek medical attention.
- Be careful what you say at the accident scene and anytime discussing the accident later. Never admit to any kind of liability. Just relay the facts without expressing opinion. Determination of liability is affected by different circumstances. When speaking with the other parties, do not offer to pay for any damage or offer any apologies. Legally, apologies can be considered admissions of fault.
- Never give a statement to the other party’s insurance company. The ultimate goal of the insurance adjuster is to obtain information that will eliminate or significantly reduce any money the insurance company must pay for your injuries. Never sign any documents from the other party’s insurance company without first having it reviewed by an experienced automobile accident attorney.
- You do have a duty of cooperation with your own insurance company, but do not give information if you do not understand any part of your policy or claim. Speak with an experienced automobile accident attorney first.
- Never sign any document that is a release or a waiver of any kind unless you are certain you understand what you are signing.
- Be sure you do not wait too long to file your insurance claim. Most policies have time limitations within which to seek benefits under the policy so make sure you don’t disregard this time limit or else your claim may not be considered valid.
- Remember not to believe everything your own or the other party’s insurance agent tells you as fact. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out claims. They will always give you estimates of losses lower than your actual losses. Get your own valuation estimates.
- Never accept any payment as a full and final payment unless you are sure that it is a fair compensation for your losses.
- Some insurers will send someone out to evaluate your auto insurance claim and assess the damage to your vehicle or they may ask you to get an estimate from a body shop first, after which they will send an adjuster to corroborate the estimate. Choose a body shop you trust, not necessarily the cheapest one. Also demand that your insurer pay for original equipment manufacturer parts for your vehicle and not generic aftermarket parts. If the estimate the adjuster offers is not fair, consult the appraisal provision of your policy to determine your options.
Free Initial Consultation
Whether you have suffered a serious injury because of another’s negligence, or you are suffocating under mountains of debt, a consultation with the Benenati Law Firm may prove to be extremely advantageous. We encourage you to call our offices today at 407-777-7777, or fill out our online form to request your free, no-obligation, and completely confidential case consultation. If you are unable to travel to our location during our office hours, we offer after-hours and home visits for your convenience, too.