What should I do immediately following an automobile accident? Immediately following an automobile accident, your first telephone call should be to 911. Once you have called for emergency services, if you are able, take photographs of the scene and all vehicles involved, and contact your insurance company to make a claim. Obtain a copy of the Driver Exchange of Information form from the responding police officer for your records. If you are in moderate to severe pain, immediately go to the hospital and seek medical treatment.
How long do I have to seek medical treatment and make a claim with my insurance after an automobile accident? After an automobile accident in which you may be injured, you have 14 days to seek appropriate medical treatment in order to preserve your PIP insurance claim.
What do I do if I miss work due to an automobile accident? If you miss work due to an automobile accident, keep an accurate and detailed record of all missed days as a result of the accident. You will be required to have certain documentation completed by your employer to verify your wages and earning loss.
What information should I provide once I hire a law firm to represent me for my claim? Once you have decided to hire a law firm to represent you for your personal injury claim, here is what you will need to provide:
- A detailed record of any and all doctors’ appointments.
- A weekly personal account of any complaints or progress due to your injuries (this will assist you in the event you are asked to recall your pain and difficulties).
- Copies of all billing statements you receive from any and all doctors, hospitals and/or diagnostic centers at which you have been seen.
- Copies of any and all receipts for co-pays for which you have paid for out of pocket for any and all doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and/or diagnostic centers at which you have been seen.
- Copies of any and all insurance cards (i.e. automobile insurance, health insurance and Medicare/Medicaid).
- A copy of the police report.
- Copies of any and all photographs of all vehicles involved in the accident.
- List of all witnesses to the automobile accident.
- List of any and all injuries you may have sustained as a result of the accident.
- List of any and all injuries you may have sustained in the previous ten (10) years for which you received medical treatment regardless of the nature of the injury.
- Inform your attorney of any and all doctors, hospitals and/or diagnostic centers at which you have been seen.
Who should I speak to about my automobile accident? No one! Do not speak with anyone, including family, friends, your insurance company or otherwise about the details of the accident. Once you hire an attorney, the attorney will be the only point of contact, and will field all requests for statements from any and all insurance companies.
Who will pay my medical bills relating to my automobile accident? The State of Florida requires that all automobile insurance policies carry a minimum of $10,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection [“PIP”] coverage. This coverage is used to pay most, if not all of your medical bills after an automobile accident. If you seek medical treatment, be sure to advise the medical provider that the injuries were sustained due to an automobile accident. Once you have used all of your PIP coverage, you may choose to have the treatments paid by your personal health insurance, if any.
Once I have hired a law firm, should I file any additional claims? No. You may receive forms and correspondence from any of the insurance carriers associated with the automobile accident. If you do, you should forward everything to your attorney so that they may address the insurance carrier directly and put them on notice that you are represented by an attorney.
Do insurance carriers really hire investigators to follow the injured party? YES! Should the insurance carrier feel that the damages warrant an investigation of the injured party due to questionable liability or injuries, the insurance carrier may hire someone to investigate you to use any information they may learn against you. They may film you, take photographs, check your credit and perform a background check without your knowledge or consent. Therefore, it is imperative that you follow your treatment guidelines perfectly. Do not perform any tasks that your treating physician has deemed contrary to your treatment as this could damage the value and viability of your claim.