Every year millions of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents — many very seriously. In fact, an estimated 1.3 million die in a road crash per year, and 20-50 million suffer serious injury. Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of injury and death in the United States for people ages 11 to 27. Sadly, many of these accidents are the result of negligent driving on the part of one or more drivers. Sometimes accidents are even caused by defects in the vehicles or obstacles on the road.
What To Do After A Car Accident
If you are wondering what to do after an auto accident that resulted in an injury, you are not alone. Clear thinking at the time of the accident and accurate gathering of pertinent auto accident information may make the difference between having to cover the medical and property damage costs on your own and receiving the compensation to which you are entitled.
First, before any personal or auto accident information is exchanged, the health and safety of everyone involved should be protected. First and foremost, any injuries should be attended to and police and medical personnel should be called. Vehicles should be moved out of the road if possible, and the entire area should be inspected for potentially dangerous conditions.
Do Not Admit Fault
Second, those wondering what to do after an auto accident should be sure to not admit fault. They should not say they were in the wrong to anyone, including the other driver, the passengers, the police, the other driver's insurance agent, or witnesses. Your perception immediately following the accident may not be the reality of the situation.
Get Medical Help
Next, since you are suffering from an injury, make sure to get medical attention immediately. This is important even if you think that your symptoms are not serious. It is best to get a full evaluation to diagnose any hidden injury that could become even more problematic if not treated now.
Once it is safe to do so, it is vital that you acquire specific information about the accident and the other drivers involved. The information about other drivers involved that you will need to collect will include:
- Date of birth
- Telephone number
- Driver’s license number and expiration date
- Insurance company information
- Make, model, and license plate number of car involved
While you are still at the scene of the accident, either take pictures yourself or have a friend take pictures for you. Make sure to document the damage to your car and the injuries that you sustained. This will serve as additional proof in your case.
Immediately following the crash, after you have received medical treatment, make sure to take detailed notes about everything that happened while your memory of the events is still fresh. For example, take down information about the damage to your car. Write down the names of any witnesses to the accident. Also, obtain information from your doctor about the medical treatments you will need now and in the future to treat your injuries.
Understanding the Importance of Seeking Legal Representation After a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and it's essential to understand the importance of seeking legal representation to protect your rights and interests. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., our experienced car accident lawyers in Tallahassee are here to guide you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Here are a few reasons why it's crucial to have a skilled attorney on your side:
- Maximizing your compensation: Insurance companies often try to settle claims quickly and for as little as possible. Having a knowledgeable car accident attorney can help ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- Investigating liability: Determining who is at fault in a car accident can be complex. Our attorneys have the resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and establish liability on the responsible party.
- Negotiating with insurance companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, especially when they try to minimize your claim. Our skilled Tallahassee car accident lawyers are experienced negotiators and can handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected.
- Preparing your case for trial: While most car accident cases are settled outside of court, it's essential to have a lawyer who is prepared to take your case to trial if necessary. Our attorneys have extensive trial experience and will diligently prepare your case to achieve the best possible outcome.
Don't navigate the legal process alone after a car accident. Contact Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule your free initial consultation and let our dedicated team fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Tallahassee Car Accident Lawyer
As you can see, knowing what to do after an auto accident could be a huge benefit to you in the long run. For more information, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. to discuss the facts of your case. Our experienced Tallahassee auto accident lawyer can help you to get the compensation you deserve to pay your medical bills, repair your vehicle and make up for any lost wages during recovery.
Finding Liability in an Auto Accident
Automobile accidents are generally decided using the law of negligence. A person who negligently operates a vehicle may be required to pay any damages caused by their negligence, either to person or property. Generally, people who operate automobiles must exercise "reasonable care under the circumstances." Failure to use reasonable care is the basis in most lawsuits for damages caused by an automobile accident.
Courts look to a number of factors in determining whether a driver was negligent. Some examples of these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driving too fast or too slow
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to signal while turning
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to drive on the right side of the road
A driver may also be liable for an accident caused by intentional or reckless conduct. A driver who is reckless is one who drives unsafely, with willful and wanton disregard for the probability that the driving may cause an accident.
Types of Compensation Available in Car Accident Cases
If you are injured in an auto accident you may be entitled to damages. The term “damages” can refer to your actual injuries and losses, as well as any financial awards your case yields.
Damages you may be entitled to include:
- Medical expenses including those incurred at the time of the accident and after. This can include surgeries, check-ups, and ongoing medical treatments
- Lost income if you are unable to work due to your injury
- Loss of any future earnings if you are permanently disabled or can no longer work
- Pain and suffering
In order to be awarded the compensation you deserve, you should entrust your case to the experienced and well-versed attorneys at Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. Our Tallahassee auto accident attorney can fight for you.
Common Car Accident Claim Mistakes
If you've been involved in a serious car accident, you will likely have to navigate the confusing auto accident claims process. It's important to understand the process because many accident victims make mistakes during it that can compromise their case if they decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The following missteps can be harmful, but are also easily preventable:
- Don't Leave Anything Undocumented: If you are ever in a car accident, documenting as much of it as possible helps ensure that your rights are protected. At the scene, you should take pictures from multiple angles and record or type notes about what you recall into your phone. Many accident victims are surprised to find that their memories of the event fade with time, and crucial evidence, therefore, sometimes slips away. It's also important to report the accident to the police and your insurer as soon as you can.
- Don't Incriminate Yourself: Regardless of who you believe was in the wrong, you need to be careful not to admit fault even in the slightest when making auto accident claims. You should review your insurance policy and, if you think your claim might not be covered, talk to an attorney before making an official statement. On a similar note, you should never make statements to a representative from the other driver's insurance company without speaking to an attorney beforehand.
- Don't Rule Out Seeking Help: Legal advice can only help in this kind of situation, especially if costly damage or injuries occurred. Don't hesitate to contact a lawyer if you have questions or concerns about your rights or how to proceed with the auto accident claims process.
Our car accident lawyer in Tallahassee has the experience and knowledge you need to see results in your case.
How Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we use our experience in handling accident cases to investigate every possible contributing cause of an accident to ensure that you will receive full compensation for your injuries. Evaluating all of the facts involved in the cause of a motor vehicle accident requires skill and experience.
Our office will take over the investigation of your case so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries. Our Tallahassee car accident attorney can assist you in finding an appropriate medical specialist to treat you, and we can make arrangements with your medical care providers to wait for payment until your case is resolved through settlement or trial.
Common Causes Of Car Accidents and How You Can Avoid Them
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), car accidents happen every 60 seconds. This means there are roughly 5.25 million accidents across the nation every year.
In many cases, car accidents can be easily avoided. Most drivers do not realize what signs to look out for when behind the wheel. Below are five of the most frequently occurring car collisions. When you are aware of the cause, it is easier to steer clear of getting involved in a wreck yourself.
Common causes of car accidents:
- Distracted Driving - This type of driving is a category that entails performing any task while operating a vehicle that can cause you to stop paying attention to the road in front of you. Distracted driving commonly manifests itself as texting while driving, fiddling with the radio, eating, or conversing with another passenger.
To protect yourself from distracted driving, you must remember that your most important task as the driver is to ensure that you are doing everything you can to reach your destination safely. Remove any distractions, and keep conversation topics to things that will not cause heated discussions.
- Speeding - Drivers frequently drive 10-20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. However, most people either do not realize or refuse to acknowledge that the faster you drive, the slower your reaction time is. If you are excessively speeding, the odds are not in your favor for a collision to be avoided whatsoever.
To lessen the chances of a wreck due to speeding, simply do not speed. Drive the speed limit that is posted for the safety of yourself and the other drivers around you.
- Driving Under the Influence - Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly dangerous and can land you into a load of trouble. When you abuse a substance and decide to drive, your senses and cognitive functions are severely dulled, compromising your capabilities.
If you decide to drink, make sure you have a designated driver to take you home or call a Lyft, Uber, or taxi. If you see someone on the road that you believe may be drunk, call 911 immediately and report the vehicle.
- Bad Weather - Heavy rainfall explicitly causes an exponential amount of wrecks. Water makes the roads slick, and it requires drivers to be extra careful and add more caution to their regular driving habits. Too much faith is commonly placed in the tires of your vehicle during a storm, and chances are they will not be sticking to the roadways as they should.
If you are stuck in a rainstorm, either drive with your hazards and go extraordinarily slow or pull over until it is safe to resume driving again. Taking extra precautions and time to get to your destination is a far better option than hydroplaning and wrecking your car.
- Reckless Driving - Weaving through traffic, cutting off other drivers, tailgating, turning improperly, and running through intersections are various examples of reckless driving. These behaviors can cause serious ramifications and should be avoided at all costs.
If you see another driver behaving this way, slow down and provide a lot of extra space between you and them. Protect yourself and others around you and call 911 if their driving poses a serious threat or danger to people on the roads.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on the nature of the collision and the safety measures in place. It's important to remember that even seemingly minor accidents can result in significant injuries. Here, we'll explore some of the common injuries that can occur in car accidents.
- Whiplash: Perhaps one of the most well-known car accident injuries, whiplash occurs when the head is forcefully jerked backward and then forward, straining the neck muscles and ligaments. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, and headaches.
- Head Injuries: Head injuries can range from minor concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Even if there's no visible external injury, the brain can still be affected due to the sudden deceleration and impact within the skull.
- Back Injuries: The force of a car accident can lead to a variety of back injuries, including herniated discs, spinal fractures, and sprains. These injuries can result in chronic pain and mobility issues.
- Chest Injuries: Chest injuries often occur due to the impact of the steering wheel or airbag against the chest. These injuries can include rib fractures, bruised or injured internal organs, and in severe cases, cardiac complications.
- Broken Bones: The strong impact of a car crash can easily lead to fractures in the arms, legs, or other parts of the body. Broken bones may require surgical intervention and extensive rehabilitation.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be stretched or torn in a collision, leading to soft tissue injuries. These injuries can result in pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.
- Internal Injuries: Internal injuries are not always immediately apparent but can be life-threatening. These injuries include damage to the spleen, liver, kidneys, or other vital organs. Internal bleeding is a serious concern and requires immediate medical attention.
- Psychological Trauma: Car accidents can also leave emotional scars. Many individuals involved in accidents experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression as a result of the trauma they've endured.
- Burns: In accidents involving fires or explosions, burns can be a significant concern. These injuries can range from mild to severe, often requiring extensive medical treatment and surgery.
- Lacerations and Abrasions: Broken glass, flying debris, or contact with hard surfaces can lead to cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. These injuries may require stitches or other wound care measures.
Preventing Car Accident Injuries
Millions of people are injured in automobile accidents every year. In the most serious accidents, fatalities can and do occur. In order to avoid losing your life or suffering from serious car accident injuries, it is important that you follow the following tips for staying safe on the road.
Tips For Preventing Accident Injuries:
- Wear a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt at all times could prevent you from getting seriously hurt in an automobile accident. Without a seat belt on, you could be thrown from the vehicle, which in many cases, could end in death.
- Follow the speed limit. If you are speeding, it may be harder for you to slow down when another car comes out of nowhere or slams on the brakes in front of you. People traveling at high speeds tend to incur more serious injuries than those who obey posted speed limits.
- Don’t drive under the influence. Not only is drinking and driving against the law, but it is one of the leading causes of car accidents. You and the people in the other vehicle could suffer serious car accident injuries or be killed if your driving is impaired.
- Be aware of other drivers. In many cases, a car accident may not be your fault. It is important to drive defensively so that you can stop your vehicle or change directions if another person is driving unsafely.
If you want to prevent car accident injuries, it is important that you always follow the laws and rules of the road. Make sure that you are taking precautions, as well as watching for other negligent drivers.
Paul A. Shapiro
I became a personal injury attorney because I wanted to help people. What we do here is really about you – it's about your injuries… your rights… and it's about fairness and justice for you. After 25 years in practice in Tallahassee, I'm proud to have provided counsel, and helped so many people get what they really deserve. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we will always keep the personal in personal injury law.
— Paul A. Shapiro, Personal Injury Lawyer" Read Full Bio
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