What Do You Do After A Car Crash?
You were going about your daily life when all of a sudden someone rear-ends you. What do you do next?
While for some this seems easy, many have never been in this situation and do not know what should be done. First, call 911. It is important for the authorities to come to the scene for medical treatment purposes and to identify all of the parties involved. Sometimes law enforcement officers get it wrong as to who was "at fault"; however, their decision regarding fault generally does not affect an injury claim and can be clarified later. Take pictures of the scene, injuries and property damage if you can. If immediately immediate medical care is necessary, go to a local hospital for treatment.
Next, it is important to seek out legal representation as soon as possible. Your choice of lawyer is the most important decision you will make following the accident and medical treatment. There are several things to take into account. It is important to choose an attorney who has actually been to trial. You should choose an attorney that practices 100% personal injury law. The term "jack of all trades, master of none," should not apply to the attorney representing you in an injury action. The amount of knowledge necessary to be a competent personal injury attorney is staggering, and it changes every day. Criminal and family law attorneys, while possibly competent in their own fields, cannot dabble in civil law and still be effective.
Once you have chosen an experienced attorney, it is important to keep up with your treatment so you can make a full recovery. In Florida, if you do not treat within 14 days of the accident, you may lose out on benefits afforded to you by your insurance.
Finally, do not speak with insurance company representatives. If you obtain legal counsel in a timely fashion, your attorney can communicate with the insurance company without the risk of you making costly statements that could negatively affect your case.
-Adam D. Rieth, Esq.