You hope you never have to face it, but if you should be involved in a car crash, here’s top-notch advice to protect your physical and financial well-being.
When the dust settles after the impact, your first instinct after a car accident is to check that you and your passengers are all right. Then, if you’re able, you probably get out of the car to check out the damage and start exchanging information with the other drivers involved. But Greg King, founding member and personal injury attorney at King Law Firm, says these usual first steps should go differently.
“Notify law enforcement immediately and, if you’re hurt, go to the hospital by ambulance. Don’t worry if you need to be transported to the hospital before law enforcement gets there; they’ll be notified how to contact you by EMS personnel. Sometimes, you won’t feel the full extent of your injuries until a few hours to 24 hours after the accident and in that case it’s important you don’t ignore the symptoms and seek immediate medical care.”
Auto accidents are required to be reported by law and obtaining an official police report and any photos of the scene will be one of the first steps to take in handling your claim. Taking an ambulance ensures you get the proper care immediately and helps counteract the at-fault party’s lawyer’s attempt to argue that your medical condition is unrelated to the accident.
“If you go to the hospital by ambulance, you are entitled to what is called a ‘summary judgment as to causation’ for the injuries that the hospital and ambulance treat you for,” King explains. “If you’re in an accident and a family member takes you to the hospital, even directly from the scene, summary judgment may not be granted. Also, the longer you wait for treatment, the harder it becomes to prove your injuries were caused by the accident.”
The day after the accident, it’s time to take some next steps. King says it’s crucial to follow your doctor’s orders to a “T”, whether picking up prescriptions or making physical therapy appointments. “Not only does this help you on the path to healing, it also helps us document your injuries and care in the event that we need to bring a legal claim on your behalf against the at-fault party for injuries.” Whether an at-fault party, their insurance company or your own aren’t treating you fairly, seeking the help of a personal injury lawyer allows you to explore your rights.
“The majority of people are first-timers in these things; they’ve never been in an accident before and have no idea who needs to be paying for their losses,” says King. “By law, the person who was not at fault in this accident is supposed to be made whole and put back to where they were before the accident, including getting back to their normal state of health, finances and well-being.”
King Law Firm
2156 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, FL