Being in a motor vehicle accident can be scary, unpleasant and in some instances life changing. After the dust settles and the adrenaline goes away a lot of questions can arise. What do I do now? Who do I call? What are my rights? Who is going to pay to fix my car? Should I call a lawyer? What doctor should I go see, if any?
The point of this article is to help with these issues and insure you are prepared should you be unfortunate enough to be in an accident.
Immediately after the accident take a moment to insure you and your passengers are ok. Make sure you move your car out of the lane of traffic to a safe location. When you get out of the car make sure to assess your surroundings for additional hazards.
Exchange information and call the police department to have a report filed. At this time it is a good idea NOT TO ADMIT FAULT IN THE ACCIDENT. Take photographs of both cars, your surroundings and anything else in the immediate area that may be useful to document your case.
Following the accident you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the accident you may be transported to the Emergency Room via ambulance or private vehicle. If the injuries are less serious the sooner you receive medical treatment the greater and sooner your recovery will be. Remember it can take 2-4 days in some instances before the true level of injury may become evident, so don’t wait for pain.
Now let’s take a moment to discuss the new laws in Florida regarding Personal Injury Protection. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident you have 14 days to be seen by any medical doctor (MD/DO/NP). That visit entitles you to up to $2,500.00 worth of coverage. In order to be eligible for the full $10,000.00 in possible coverage you need what is known as a EMC or Emergency Medical Condition diagnosis. This may sound like a scary term, but can mean anything from a simple sprain/strain up to and including broken bones. This diagnosis will not be given to you at the ER or by your primary care office. It is not because they don’t know about it or don’t want to, but they normally do not want to be involved in Personal Injury cases.
If you go to an urgent care or walk in clinic make sure you ask to have the EMC diagnosis, if given, included in your examination note.
The most common injury sustained in most “minor” accidents are hyper flexion/hyper extension injuries or those more commonly known as whiplash. This injury may seem minor at first, but can quickly become more serious causing pain, headaches and numbness and tingling into the upper or lower extremities. This injury can also set in motion an underlying degenerative process leading to degenerative changes of your spine that years later can become a serious issue.
It is recommended you see a licensed Chiropractic physician who can evaluate your injuries, explain ALL the possible treatments and refer you to any outside physicians if necessary.
Below is a checklist that you can print out and keep in your car should you ever be involved in a motor vehicle accident:
- Call the police and file a report
- Take photos of all vehicle involved
- Exchange information with all parties
- Seek medical attention
- Assure if you qualify you are given a EMC diagnosis
- Call your insurance company and file a claim. Make sure you know your claim number for your doctor visits.
- Call to schedule an evaluation with a licensed Chiropractor
- If you feel you need legal representation contact a lawyer to start your case
- DO NOT JUST CALL a 1-800 number or someone who has endless TV commercials. Find someone who you feel you can trust or whom shows they have your best interest in mind.