This article will detail what to do after you have been involved in a car accident in St. Pete Florida and when to hire a lawyer.
After an accident the trauma and injuries are not the only things you will be left to deal with. Medical bills and other financial obligations will follow and the situation can get overwhelming very quickly. Insurance companies are involved and while they may offer compensation and a settlement, it is crucial to ensure that you are receiving all that you are entitled to considering all that you have just endured.
What Steps You Should Take After an Accident?
Get to safety:
- Make sure that you are in a safe place after the accident. Move out of the roadway if possible to first ensure your safety.
- Check on your passengers to make sure they are safe and help them move to safety with you.
- If you must move your car, try to take pictures before doing so, so long as you can do it safely, to document the scene.
- You should call 911 immediately and tell them you have just been involved in an accident. Police and medical personnel will arrive on scene and begin investigating what happened, who is at fault, and the type of injuries. Without the police and medical personnel, it could be difficult to later establish a concrete case.
- Use your phone to take pictures of the accident and your injuries if you have the ability. If you are too injured, make sure someone you are with takes pictures, or make sure the police take pictures. This includes pictures of your car, the other person’s car, the roadway, and the surrounding area.
- Obtain video to help capture the surrounding area, the damage, your injury, and anything else you think is pertinent in showing the accident.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Get insurance information, the name of the driver, the names of any passengers in the other driver’s car, the names of any other witnesses that may have seen what happened, and the make, model, license plate number, and color of the other car involved.
- The police should have you write a written statement about how the accident occurred. Make sure this is done so that it becomes part of the crash report investigation.
- Also, when you discuss your injuries with any medical personnel, including your doctor, make sure it is well documented. Have the names of all healthcare facilities that were involved in your care so you can provide it to your attorney.
- Request copies of all reports the police take and any reports the medical personnel take.
Contact a lawyer:
- A lawyer is important to help you get the compensation you deserve. An insurance company will try to offer you the lowest possible settlement. After all you have endured and the injuries you have suffered, you want someone on your side looking out for your interests. You only get one shot at fair compensation, so make it count.
- Our firm has the necessary experience and knowledge in dealing with insurance companies. We specialize in car accidents and know how to navigate this area for you.
What You Should Not Do After an Accident in St. Pete Florida
- Admitting Fault
You may apologize even if you are not at fault without realizing what that could mean for your case. If you admit fault, insurance companies will not approve your claim. It is best to minimize discussing the accident with the other person involved and explain the events and how the accident occurred to the police and medical personnel.
- Failing to Report the Accident
Even if you think it is the right thing to do and work the case out with the other driver, this could result in higher insurance premiums later on. Also, even if you do not think you are hurt at the time, you could realize that once the adrenaline of the situation has worn off, you are in fact feeling pain that should not be there. Once you leave the scene and try to report the accident after the fact, you have diminished the value of your case.
- Accepting Settlement Without Consulting a Lawyer
It may be tempting to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer you are approached with. The insurance company may make you feel as though it is a “now or nothing” type offer. In most cases, these settlement offers come too soon for you to really know the extent of your injuries and the pain you could experience for years to come. By having an experienced attorney, he or she can walk you through the process of negotiating a higher settlement; one that is in line with your medical professionals’ opinions.
- Missing Medical Appointments (Treatment “Gap”)
The insurance company will look for any reason to deny your claim. It’s important for you to make all doctor’s appointments, therapies, and surgeries so that you have a better chance of receiving just compensation for your injuries. Any “gap” in treatment will cause the insurance company to reduce the value of your claim.
When You Should Call a Lawyer
After an accident, you may ask yourself, “do I really need an attorney?” As mentioned before, the insurance company will be quick to offer you a settlement and try to take advantage of the situation you are in. You want an experienced attorney to make sure you get what you deserve.
If you or your family suffered any type of injury, whether it is minor or severe, an experienced attorney can help you obtain all relevant reports and documentation, negotiate with the insurance company, and file for compensation.
The attorney will help you navigate the process and discuss with you how much you should claim as a settlement. Our firm works on a contingency agreement, which means you pay nothing up front. We only get paid if you win the case.
It’s important to call a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident so he or she can walk you through the beginning process of navigating your case. It will be important for you to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Your lawyer can help you stay on track to make sure you get the proper care you need.
Your attorney will immediately begin investigating your case and collecting evidence to support your claim. Some of the evidence will include:
- Photos of the accident
- Photos of your injuries
- Medical records
- Diary of events
- Police report
- Video recordings
A lawyer will consult with and hire experts if needed in order to ensure you are compensated fairly.
A lawyer will help you understand your rights and what you are entitled to after an accident.
Our firm offers a free consultation so please don’t hesitate to call!
The Benefits of Hiring A Lawyer After a car Accident in St. Pete Florida
One thing to keep in mind is that a lawyer will not get involved in every case brought to their attention. You need to have a strong case for them to take it on. You should also understand that you cannot always hire the first lawyer you come across. If you don’t do your research, you may be hiring an attorney who doesn’t give you the best results.
Not all car accident cases are ripe for litigation so in speaking with a lawyer, our firm can help you determine if you have a strong case to bring against the other party. Once it is determined that you have a case, our firm will help with the following:
- Review Paperwork
As previously discussed, the insurance company may reach out to you by phone or mail. The insurance company may want you to sign documents. It is probably best not to sign any documents or take any phone calls from the insurance company and our firm can help you determine if any action is necessary on your part.
- Take on the Insurance Company
The insurance company will want to pay as little as they can even if your medical expenses are significant. Having a lawyer on your side will help you fight for what you need to make sure your bills are taken care of. If you wait to hire a lawyer, you may be led to believe that the insurance company is willing to pay your medical bills, but you may find yourself with medical bills that never get paid. Our firm is dedicated to making sure your expenses are fully compensated!
- Thorough Investigation
Our firm understands a thorough investigation is vital before making any moves with the insurance company or in litigating your case. We will help in gathering evidence, including reports, potential surveillance of the area from nearby businesses, and obtaining all medical reports explaining your injuries. These can all help in making sure you will get the best possible outcome.
- Increased Compensation
If you accept the insurance companies first settlement that is all you will get even if you find yourself still dealing with doctors, pain, and medical appointments long after the accident. You don’t want an insurance company to underestimate your claim and under compensate you. Our firm will be involved early on, review your case, and consult with the medical professionals that can sway insurance company in your favor, which can potentially lead to an increased amount in compensation.
What You Can Recover After the Accident?
When you hire a car accident lawyer, you could be eligible for:
- Repair or Replacement of your Vehicle
We can help ensure your vehicle expenses are taken into consideration when receiving your settlement.
- Medical Expenses
Once a settlement is made, you will receive a lump sum, which will be used to reimburse your medical providers. As your attorney, we will make sure all necessary payments are made and work with your providers in doing so.
- Lost Wages
You are entitled to recover lost wages, including future lost wages and other costs that you may have incurred by having to take time off work. Our firm can help determine what amount you are entitled to and seek to ensure you are compensated.
- Compensation for your Pain and Suffering
We will make sure your pain, suffering, and injuries are accounted for when negotiating your case with the insurance company. Without an attorney, the insurance company will likely not take this into consideration and try to settle the case for the least amount possible. It is crucial to have competent legal counsel to fight for what you are entitled to.
How Long Will a Lawsuit Take?
When you hire our firm as your car accident lawyer, we will start working on your case immediately. How quickly your case resolves depends on a number of factors, including treatment of your injuries, the complexity of the case, whether experts such as accident reconstruction specialists need to be hired, and whether or not your case goes to trial. Some cases may only take a few months to settle, while others could take up to a year or even longer. We will do everything we can to settle your case as quickly and efficiently as we can!
We hope the information provided here helps you in taking the right steps after you are in an accident. As your car accident lawyer, our goal is to make sure you receive the maximum compensation without going through a long, drawn out legal process. Fletcher & Fletcher Criminal Defense is here to help you, so if you find yourself involved in an auto accident, call us today. We look forward to getting to know you and seeking justice on your case!