No one plans to be in an automobile collision. It can be a frightening experience, especially if you or your loved ones are injured as a result. If you are involved in a collision, there are several things you should do to protect yourself. Failure to act may limit the benefits available to you under your policy. Below are the three important things to do immediately.
1. Document the collision. If you are able to do so safely, document the details of the crash.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, get the name and contact information for the other driver. Take photographs of the vehicles involved and the scene, including any debris on the ground. Get the names of any witnesses to the collision or anyone who stops to render aid. Make a note of any business in the area that may have surveillance of the street.
2. Get medical treatment if you are injured.
If you are experiencing pain at the crash site, go to the emergency room for evaluation. Don’t be afraid to ask for an ambulance if you feel you need one. Even if you aren’t experiencing immediate pain and do not feel that you need to go to the emergency room, it is best to at least go to your doctor for evaluation. Under the current automobile insurance laws, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the collision. If you do not, your automobile insurance carrier does not have to pay for your medical treatment later even if it is determined that you have a serious injury. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice after your initial evaluation and return for additional treatment as needed.
3. Report the collision to your insurance company and to the other driver’s company.
Even if the crash is not your fault, you have a duty to report the collision to your own insurance company. Your company is responsible for paying 80% of your medical expenses (assuming you seek treatment within 14 days of the collision) and 60% of your wages for missed time from work. You should also report the collision to the other driver’s insurance company just in case the other driver did not. If the other driver is determined to be at fault for the collision, his or her insurance company is responsible for paying your out-of-pocket expenses not covered by your own company. You may be asked to give a recorded statement to the insurance companies. While you may be obligated to give a statement to your own insurance company, you are not required to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s company. Yes, a car crash can be frightening and a bit overwhelming.
You do not have to figure it out on your own. If you need legal assistance contact, Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon at 850-444-6581. We are a full-service law firm with a team of lawyers with vast experience in handling claims like yours. Contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to help you through the maze of insurance companies and claims.