It is not uncommon for parties involved in a car accident to suffer injuries. However, how you handle the moments after your collision and your car accident claim will depend on who the injured party is.
After a car accident that injured someone, discuss your case with a car accident attorney.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can result in different types of injuries, and the severity of the injuries usually depends on the details of the collision.
Some of the most common types of car accident injuries include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Fractured and broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Brain injuries
- Facial injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Amputation injuries
- Internal injuries
In extremely unfortunate circumstances, car accident victims can pass away. In the case of a death, the victim’s family may have the opportunity to file a lawsuit for wrongful death and seek compensation for their losses.
If you sustain injuries in a car accident, you should seek legal guidance from a car accident attorney. You may be eligible to pursue financial recovery for your injuries and other related losses.
What to Do if a Car Accident Injures You
Car accidents can be scary and traumatic, especially if you sustain injuries. If you become injured in a car accident, the following steps can help ensure your well-being is a top priority while protecting your rights to future compensation.
Immediately after the collision, check yourself and your passengers for potential injuries. Then, if possible, call 911 and request assistance from law enforcement. The operator may ask about injuries, so you can also ask for emergency medical aid.
Police play a vital role in car accident cases. They survey the scene, speak to the parties involved, interview witnesses, and gather as much information as possible. Then, they turn the details they gathered into a police report. Police reports serve as critical evidence that helps determine cause and liability and prove damages.
Seek Medical Attention
When you suffer injuries in a car accident, you can expect emergency medical personnel to care for you at the scene of the accident. If your injuries are severe enough, paramedics will take you to the nearest hospital for further treatment.
Even if you get emergency medical treatment, you should seek additional medical aid. Whether you visit an emergency room or see your primary physician, it’s best to have a doctor further examine you.
A thorough examination can reveal the severity of your injuries and may even reveal injuries you didn’t even know you suffered. Because of the body’s natural response after a stressful event, it can be difficult to fully understand the full extent of your injuries right after a collision.
Once you are aware of the injuries you sustained and the severity of your injuries, you can begin medical treatment.
In Florida, you must seek medical attention within 14 days of your accident. Failing to do so can hurt your ability to obtain compensation.
If possible, begin gathering relevant evidence as soon as possible after your injury. Strong evidence can strengthen your car accident claim.
Evidence can include:
- Witness information
As other pieces of evidence become available, like police reports and medical records, your car accident lawyer can obtain this information.
You can also help build your case by providing your lawyer with additional documentation, including proof of time off work, lost wages, and medical bills.
Report Your Accident to Your Insurer
Insurance companies expect to know when you've been involved in an accident, whether the accident was your fault or not. Therefore, contact your insurer and report your collision as soon as possible.
The insurance company will want details regarding your accident, injuries, and property damage. They will then assign an insurance adjuster to handle your claim. Insurance adjusters are your point of contact and help you through the claims process from beginning to end.
Avoid Speaking to the Other Driver’s Insurer
It is not uncommon for the other driver’s insurance company to want to speak to you. They may contact you within days after your collision, kindly asking for a recorded statement. While this may seem innocent enough, the insurer has ulterior motives.
Usually, the insurance company wants to get a statement to turn around and use your words against you. That way, they may be successful in limiting their liability or avoiding liability altogether.
If the other party’s insurance company contacts you, do not give them a statement. Tell them you cannot speak to them without a lawyer.
Follow Through With Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
Completing your medical treatment as your physician recommends. Your doctor can provide a treatment plan that can include everything from medication to surgery to get you back on track physically.
Even if you start to feel better and think it’s harmless to quit taking your medication or stop attending therapy, this can be particularly harmful to your car accident claim.
After becoming injured in an accident, you’ll use your medical records as essential evidence to prove the extent and severity of your injuries to pursue compensation. Insurance companies are always trying to avoid paying your damages. If they see you’ve stopped treatment, they may use this as an excuse to get out of paying you what your claim is worth.
Should you have any doubts about your treatment plan, discuss them with your physician. Otherwise, always complete medical treatment for your injuries.
What to Do if a Car Accident Injures Someone Else
If you’re in a car accident where another party sustains injuries:
After the collision, assess yourself and your passengers. Check on the other driver and their passengers as well. Dial 911 as soon as possible and request police and emergency medical services.
Remain at the Accident Scene
Staying at the accident scene isn't just morally right—it's the law. Under Florida law, if an accident involves injuries or death of an individual, parties are not legally allowed to abandon the scene.
Leaving the scene is never the right choice, even if you feel scared or stressed after an accident. Failing to remain on the scene of a car accident can result in legal repercussions.
Exchange Information With the Other Driver
If the other driver can comprehend and retain the information, you should always give them your information and get theirs. Information to exchange can include:
- Names and contact information
- Driver’s license information
- Car insurance information
- Vehicle information
This information may help when you file a claim with your insurance company.
Document the Collision
Car accidents are usually stressful events, so you may forget to take important steps, including documenting the collision, that will help your legal claim.
Begin collecting details and information regarding your accident as soon as possible.
You can gather:
- Photos and videos of the vehicles and scene
- Witness contact information
- The police officers’ names and badge numbers
- Writing down anything else you might find important
More evidence becomes available after your collision, including police reports and bills.
Seek Medical Care for Yourself
Even if you think you walked away unscathed, that may not be the case. It is always wise to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident.
A doctor’s thorough examination can reveal injuries you may not be aware of, allowing you to get the medical treatment you need.
Don’t just put another person’s health and well-being before your own—make sure to get medical care for yourself, too.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Always report collisions you were in to your insurer. Your insurance company will gather details and assign the insurance adjuster that will take over handling your claim.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney
After an accident, speak to a skilled car accident lawyer, especially if the other driver suffered injuries. This person may try to use the situation to their advantage and pin the accident on you. A skilled car accident lawyer can advise you on what to do in this situation.
Seeking Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
Depending on the details of your accident, you may be able to pursue damages for your injuries and property damage. Damages compensate individuals for their losses after a collision.
Damages for car accident cases can either be economic or non-economic, depending on the type of loss.
Economic damages encompass physical and tangible losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Property damage
Non-economic damages represent intangible losses related to your accident. They can include:
- Mental and emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
Additionally, some cases may qualify for punitive damages. Punitive damages apply in cases where the other party went beyond negligence to grossly negligent or intentional actions.
Calculating damages can be challenging and often requires the skill and experience of a car accident attorney. A lawyer can investigate your case to calculate the value of your case and pursue compensation for your losses.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Handle Your Claim
While it may seem possible to handle your claim independently, many individuals quickly find the process daunting. A car accident attorney has the knowledge needed to handle your claim.
A car accident lawyer will do everything necessary for your claim, including:
- Investigating your accident
- Communicating with the insurance companies
- Calculating your damages
- Determining cause and liability for the collision
- Helping you get the medical treatment you need
- Collecting evidence to strengthen your claim
- Settling with the insurance company
- Filing a lawsuit, if necessary
Having a car accident attorney on your side will give you the confidence and peace of mind you need to focus on other important things, like recovering from your injuries. Car accident lawyers have the tools and resources necessary to steer your claim in the right direction and help you obtain the financial recovery you need to pay for your losses.
Time Is Limited for Car Accident Cases
Seeking legal help after a car accident might be the furthest thing from your mind, but it shouldn’t be. While getting medical care should always be first, discussing your accident with a car accident lawyer soon after your collision should be one of the top tasks on your list.
Getting legal assistance is imperative because time is limited for car accident claims. While you may never have to file a lawsuit to successfully obtain compensation, a lawsuit may become necessary under certain circumstances.
Florida's statute of limitations governs the deadline a person has to file a lawsuit. In Florida, you have four years from your accident to file your lawsuit. However, always discuss your situation with a lawyer, as the statute of limitations may vary in your case.
Failing to file a lawsuit within the allotted time can result in losing your right to pursue compensation for your losses. Therefore, having a car accident attorney handle your claim can help ensure that, should you need to file a lawsuit, you can submit it quickly.
After an Accident, Consult a Qualified Car Accident Attorney
When another person suffers injuries in a car accident, you should discuss your case with a car accident lawyer. An attorney can provide quality legal advice and services, helping navigate your claim and work toward a successful outcome.