I Was Injured in a Car Accident. What Now?
In the US, millions of car accidents happen each year. As a victim of a motor vehicle incident, you may sustain injuries that need medical attention and that rack up large medical bills. In the most serious cases, a car accident may cause death. These vehicle accidents can have profound impacts of your life and the lives of your loved ones. Below you will find a state by state guide to help you or a loved one navigate the next steps after a car crash.
Colorado | Florida | Maine | Massachusetts | Michigan | New York | Rhode Island | Tennessee | Texas | VirginiaI was injured in a car accident in Colorado. What now?
Take a minute. Instead of jumping out of your car to see how others are doing, take a minute to inventory how you are feeling. Jumping out of the car right away before you assess your own injuries could make any injuries you have sustained worse. Just take a head to toe inventory and decide if you believe it is safe to get out of the vehicle.
Check on others. If you determine that you are ok and can safely exit your vehicle, check on the other people involved in the collision.
Report the collision. Even if there are no injuries, you need to call 911 to report the collision. Colorado law requires that all collisions are reported immediately. Once you report the collision, you should stay on scene until an officer arrives or until you are told by a 911 dispatcher that you may exchange information leave. If you are told that you may leave the scene, you should first exchange all information such as insurance cards and driver’s licenses. NOTE: If there are injuries, if it is a hit and run, if you suspect drug or alcohol use or if there is damage to public property, you will need to stay on scene until the police arrive no matter how long it may take. Be sure to take photos of all vehicles prior to leaving the scene.
File an online police report. If you are allowed to leave the scene prior to police arrival, you must file an online police report immediately after or as soon as possible. You will need to report all information regarding the collision so, again, it is very important that you get copies of the other driver’s insurance card, their driver’s license, and photos of the vehicles BEFORE you move from the scene. Also note the time of the collision, the direction the vehicles were traveling and any witness information.
Document details of the collision. Even more than what you report on the online police report, you should get a journal and document every single thing that you remember from the collision. Include details such as the weather conditions, statements made by the other driver, statements made by the police (if they arrived) and statements of witnesses. Describe exactly how the collision occurred, how fast you were travelling, how fast you think the other car was travelling, if you were injured in the collision or if anyone else was injured. If you were injured, make sure you detail exactly what you felt and when, if you saw the impact coming, and how your body was positioned at the time of the collision.
Report the collision to the insurance carries. This is true for both insurance carriers. Call the at-fault driver’s insurance company and open a claim. You will be given a claim number. Just give general information at this time in order to open the claim. You will be given a second claim number from your own insurance company. You will be told that an adjuster will contact you later to get a statement. Consider consulting with an attorney before making any statement to the other driver’s insurance company.
Get checked out by a physician. It is very important to understand that just because you do not feel pain at the scene, it does not mean that you are not injured. Many injuries do not make themselves known until hours or even days after the collision so it is important to keep assessing how you are feeling to determine if you should go see a professional. It is a good rule of thumb to get checked out within the first 24 hours after a collision just in case.
Keep up with appointments. If you do determine that you need medical attention, be sure to keep all of your appointments and follow all recommendations. Many times our lives are interrupted by doctor appointments. This is especially true after a collision. However, in order to be sure that you get the treatment needed for your injuries, you really need to attend all appointments. This is absolutely true if you have opened a bodily injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The adjuster will look for any excuse not to settle your claim for what it is worth. They will use breaks in treatment and missed doctor appointments to show that you weren’t really injured in the crash. After all, if you were, why didn’t you go to all of your appointments? Do not give them any additional ammunition to be unfair to you.
Journal. Keep a journal tracking all doctor appointments, how you feel, and how the collision has impacted your life. Be sure to note if you have physical injuries such as bumps, scrapes, bruises, and cuts. Take pictures off all of the injuries you sustained in the collision and put them in your journal. Also note any cognitive problems that you may notice which can include problems concentrating, problems with comprehension, with memory, and/or disturbed sleep.
Consider getting legal representation. There is sometimes a stigma attached to people who hire an attorney for a personal injury. The truth is that sometime people really need an attorney. Sometimes the insurance company will only offer a small amount to settle the claim. Sometimes they try to convince you that you do not have a case or that your injury cannot be related to the collision. Sometimes you do not have insurance and therefore you cannot get treatment that is needed. A personal injury attorney can help in all of these situations. It is not about getting rich; it is about getting better and being treated fairly.
Colorado Offices in Denver, Colorado Springs
Arizona Offices in Phoenix
I was injured in a car crash in Florida. What now?
Hi, I’m Matt Morgan from Morgan & Morgan, America’s largest personal injury law firm. I’m here to talk to you about challenges you might face as a car accident victim in Florida, and how our law firm is uniquely equipped to tackle them.
A car crash is a distressing experience no matter the circumstances, but a serious accident has the potential to turn your life upside-down. Between medical bills, lost income, and physical injuries, you have a lot to contend with. Throw in an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay your claim, and it can all feel overwhelming.
We fight the bullies so you don’t have to. We’re prepared to take on any insurance company, and go above and beyond to secure full and fair compensation in your case. If that means going to trial because the other side won’t offer a fair settlement, we’re ready and willing. Our law firm takes more cases to trial than any other, because we always do whatever it takes to win.Auto Insurance Laws in Florida Are Complex
Florida has unique insurance laws that create obstacles for accident victims seeking to recover compensation. Notably, motor vehicle operators are not required to have bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance, which is designed to pay for injuries to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians when the policyholder is at fault.
Fortunately, most Florida drivers do carry BIL. But because coverage is not mandatory, there are a fair number of drivers without it. To compound matters, many drivers have BIL insurance but lack sufficient coverage for major injuries.
Florida drivers can protect themselves and their loved ones against motorists without BIL coverage and with low policy limits by purchasing uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage through their insurance company. This coverage helps accident victims recover losses that the liable driver may be unable to pay.We Can Protect Your Rights
As you can see, Florida insurance law poses various hurdles for accident victims. And even if you suffer a serious injury and the other driver was clearly in the wrong, you’ll likely have a battle ahead of you to recoup your losses.
You shouldn’t rely on any insurance company – the other driver’s or your own (in the case of UM and UIM coverage) – to value your claim fairly. Insurance companies want to protect their bottom line, no matter what. To that end, they might claim that your injury was pre-existing, that your symptoms aren’t that bad, or even that you don’t have coverage.
You need a personal injury lawyer to fight back against these corporations, and no law firm does it better than Morgan & Morgan. We understand how to identify the full scope of your losses, we’re seasoned negotiators, and we’re not afraid to go to trial if that’s what it takes to get the best results in your case.
Matt Morgan – Morgan & Morgan, PA
Over 50 offices located in 17 States
I was injured in a car accident in Maine. What now?
Suffering a serious personal injury because of another person’s negligence is a life changing event that is often overwhelming for clients. Clients tell me that in the aftermath of suffering a serious personal injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, a lost limb, or a complex fracture, it is difficult to balance visits to doctors and specialists, growing medical bills, missed time from work, and property damage issues. In response to these concerns, I advise clients to think of the following five guiding principles:
Treatment: Obtain the Care You Need to Recover
Regaining your health is the single most important priority after you are injured. Your health is priceless. There is no amount of money that the civil justice system will provide that will adequately compensate you for the loss of your health.
Obtaining treatment early is important because it provides a roadmap to understand the extent of your injuries, the treatment you require, and the timeframe for recovery. Additionally, early medical intervention may be effective in resolving issues before they become chronic.
Mainers are often reluctant to seek medical attention and, when they do, they downplay the significance of their injuries and pain. When you treat with your medical providers, it is important to honestly and accurately answer their questions and report your injuries and limitations.
Capture: Preserve Key Evidence
We have all heard the expression that “one picture is worth a thousand words.” This saying rings true in the context of personal injury cases. After you are injured, it is important to take pictures that accurately reflect the damage that is caused to you and your personal property, such as your vehicle. For example, pictures that show casts, swelling, bruising, lacerations, and scars are critical to describing the extent of your injuries to an insurance company or eventually a jury. Similarly, photographs showing damage caused to your vehicle can also demonstrate the severity of your car crash. Finally, pictures that capture what the scene of the incident looked like at the time the incident occurred are important in describing the incident to an insurance company or jury.
Refuse: Do Not Give Recorded Statements to Insurance Companies
Frequently, opposing insurance companies will ask you to provide a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters are creative in cajoling injured victims into providing these statements. You should recognize that these recorded statements are for the benefit of the insurance company, and that such statements will be used at every opportunity to undermine your potential case.
Moreover, providing a recorded statement when you are vulnerable and still in the initial stages of your treatment is unwise. At the time you provide your recorded statement, you may not fully appreciate the extent of your injuries. The casual language you use in describing the event or your injuries may be used against you later to suggest that you were at fault for the crash or that your injuries were insignificant. If an insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement, a warning bell should go off in your mind and you should politely decline.
Patience: Resist the Temptation to Prematurely Settle Your Case
We have all heard the saying that patience is a virtue. In the context of a personal injury case, patience is important to protecting your interests. Clients are often pushed into settling their cases prematurely. Insurance adjusters suggest that they simply want to wrap-up the claim and ensure the client receives money. In reality, this can merely be a ploy to entice you to resolve your claim before the full extent of your injuries and damages are recognized.
Before you resolve your claim, it is critical that you understand the full extent of your injuries: are your injuries permanent or will they improve over time; will you require additional future treatment; what ongoing treatment will you require? It is also important to understand whether your injuries will affect your ability to work and reduce your earning capacity/wages over time. Ultimately, the “right” time to settle your case varies from case-to-case depending on your injuries.
Consult: Obtain a Free Consultation from an Attorney to Ensure Your Interests are Protected
Insurance companies are large, sophisticated entities. Their priority is to manage risk and to pay the least amount of money possible to resolve a claim. Insurance companies use varying tactics to achieve their goal from appearing overly friendly and supportive to being overbearing, aggressive, and mean. Regardless of the insurance company’s tact, it is critical to remember that the insurance company does not have your best interest at heart. To ensure your best interests are protected and that you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries, you should consult with an attorney whose practice focuses on personal injury cases. Typically, this consultation is free, and you only pay an attorney fee if the attorney recovers money for you.
No one wants to be injured let alone be forced into a legal process to obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. If, however, you are injured, it is important to remember these five guiding principles to ensure that your interests and rights are protected and preserved.
Travis Brennan, Esq – Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys
Maine Offices in Bangor, Lewiston, Portland
I was injured in a car accident in Massachusetts. What now?
Car accidents can be traumatic experiences. As you try to make sense of what has happened to cause the accident, you may not know what to do next. There are several immediate steps that you should take after you get into a motor vehicle accident, both to ensure your own safety, and to obtain the important information you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. After contacting the police:
Ensure that you and the other drivers are safe: if you aren’t badly injured and the car is drivable, avoid any secondary accidents by moving to the shoulder if possible and putting on your hazard lights. If you are seriously injured, wait for medical attention to arrive before doing anything else.
Exchange information: Gather as much information as you can about the other driver(s) involved, including collecting their license plate, their insurance information, and their personal contact information. If it is possible to do safely, you should remember to take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, and any other vehicles involved
File a Motor Vehicle Accident report: if you are the operator of a motor vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in death, injury, or over $1,000 in property damage, you are required to file one of these reports with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. It is not always immediately clear if anyone involved in the accident was injured or how much property damage occurred, so to be safe, complete and file the report regardless of your best estimate for the damages. This report must be filed within 5 days of the accident.
Work with law enforcement: Go over the details of the accident with the police at the scene to ensure that there is a clear accident report available. This report can be used in court if needed to provide additional information about the accident.
Seek medical attention: If you are injured in any way, you should seek out an examination by a medical professional as soon as possible. A medical professional will be able to best assess the severity of your injuries and provide you with the care that you need. A doctor will also provide you with documentation about your injuries which can be crucial for your case in the event that you choose to pursue a lawsuit.
Contact your insurance company: finally, report your accident to your insurance company and provide them with as much information regarding the accident and the other parties involved as you can.
Contact an attorney: Car accidents can cause financial and emotional hardships on the victim and family members of victims of crashes. The personal injury attorneys of Altman & Altman, LLP are here to help. Contact us today and get a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and if you may be entitled to additional compensation for your injuries. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199.
Save all of your documents about your accident in one place: put medical bills, explanation of benefits letters, other forms from your insurance company and any documents related to your accident in one place. This will make it easier for you to access information and provide that to your attorney to support your case.
Take pictures: Photos of injuries from the day of your accident and throughout your healing process can help provide a powerful narrative about the impact of your accident on your life. If your case goes to court, these photos can be shared with a jury to show how your injuries physically impacted you.
Journal: keep a log of your injuries, both the physical as well as the mental impact this has had on your life. This first hand account can help provide a powerful narrative to a jury that isn’t captured in your medical and insurance documents.
David Altman – Altman & Altman, LLP
Massachusetts Offices in Boston, Cambridge, Needham
I was injured in a crash in Michigan. Now what?
Knowing what to do after you have been injured in a crash in Michigan is critical to making sure you get the medical care you need for your injuries and to start rebuilding your life, and to making sure you recover the compensation and benefits and damages you are entitled to under the law.
Michigan's No-Fault auto insurance is complicated and the penalties for not following its many rules and requirements can result in people who have been seriously injured in a crash being deprived of the medical coverage that they should have otherwise been provided. There are applications for benefits that must be filed. There are deadlines for submitting claims. And there are strict, harsh penalties when either of those requirements are not scrupulously complied with.
Although many states do not stand in the way of crash victims holding the at-fault drivers who injured them accountable for their negligent actions, Michigan does. People seeking justice against negligent drivers must first meet Michigan's high and arbitrary tort threshold by showing that they have suffered a "serious impairment of body function."
To get the medical care you need, the compensation and benefits you are entitled to, and the justice you deserve after being injured in a crash in Michigan, you need the skill, experience, grit and proven track record of a Michigan Auto Law lawyer fighting for you and your family. Contact us by clicking here to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
Steven M. Gursten - Michigan Auto Law
Michigan Offices in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills and Sterling Heights