Whether you were involved in a Tampa auto accident or you are acting on behalf of a family member who was injured, you may not know what to do or what to expect. Who pays the medical bills? What if you can’t work? What if the injuries are permanent? What about your wrecked car? What do you say to the insurance agent? There are many steps to take after a Tampa auto accident and choosing the right steps to take could make a large difference in your legal recovery.
First Steps After a Tampa Auto Accident
- Always call 911 if anyone is injured or appears dazed or distressed.
- Do not move the vehicles until police arrive, except for traffic safety reasons.
- Get contact, identification, and insurance information from the other driver.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses.
- Do not discuss the accident with others at the scene.
- Take photos of the crash scene, the vehicles, and visible injuries.
- Obtain the police report and note any incorrect information.
- See a doctor – All occupants of your vehicle should seek medical treatment, with a family physician if not the emergency room. This is important, not only for medical documentation of minor injuries but to make sure there is not a more serious underlying injury. Tell the doctor of any soreness, muscle spasms, pain, loss of sensation, headache, dizziness or other lasting symptoms. You have 14 days after the accident to seek medical care in order to use your PIP benefits.
- Call a lawyer- Learn your rights and ask questions – Attorney Mike Hancock has represented personal injury victims since 1996 and before that, he worked for the insurance industry for eight years. He can knowledgeably intervene to talk to the insurance companies and negotiate on your behalf to make sure that your medical bills and other damages are covered.
- Refer all Insurance Company Calls to Your Attorney- Insurance companies, both your own and the company of the person who hit you, will try and contact you. When that happens it is important to not give them any immediate information and refer them directly to us, so as your attorneys we can deal with the insurance company questions and inquiries.
Things to Avoid After a Tampa Auto Accident:
Over the years, Attorney Mike Hancock has formulated exactly what clients should do to help build their case after an auto accident. He also knows what clients should NEVER do after a car crash, whether it is the fault of someone else or their fault. These things could all potentially harm your case if you did not cause the accident.
- DO NOT Leave the Scene: It might be common sense to most, but we see it time and time again. never leave the scene of an accident.
- NEVER Claim Responsibility: After an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault, many people feel compelled to say “I’m sorry.” When there may be comparative fault (fault on both sides) this could immensely harm your case. Wait for the police to show up and be honest and give them the facts of what happened but do not admit fault. The only information that should be exchanged with the other driver is your name, vehicle, make model, year, color, and VIN, and your auto insurance company information and contact.
- DO NOT Sign Anything Unofficial: Only sign documents given to you by the police, a doctor or your own insurer. Again, only say facts, never opinion. Documents that are official, make sure you read thoroughly before signing, and if you don’t agree with it, DO NOT sign it.
- NEVER Get Visibly Angry: Try your hardest not to wear your heart on your sleeve. Even if you are mad and want to get angry, don’t let the others involved see, as being angry will only make things worse. Stay calm and show respect to everyone around you, even if they are not doing the same for you. Listen to the police’s instructions and their thoughts on the accident.
- DO NOT Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance Company: The other party’s insurer wants you to settle as quickly as possible, as to get you to accept the lowest offer. They will try to act friendly and ask you to record a statement, and then use that against you to settle. Don’t make any statements. Do not give any written or recorded statement to their insurance adjuster or your own insurance agent before speaking with an attorney. The insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible or deny your claim entirely. Insurance adjusters are trained to fish for information and ask questions in a certain way that shifts the blame back on you.
- DO NOT wait to get legal advice. Getting a lawyer after a car accident might seem like a big step, but we are here form the beginning to answer any questions you might have, for free. You should not have to pay for legal advice and we offer free consultations with Mike Hancock, who has been a successful personal injury attorney for over 30 years. We have settled millions of dollars worth of cases, but we only get paid if we win your case.
By not doing these things after a car crash you are protecting your rights. At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we will be able to negotiate with the insurance company and make sure you are getting the compensation you truly deserve.
Contact Hancock Injury Attorneys
Auto accident lawyer Mike Hancock has obtained verdicts and settlements of more than $1 million in motor vehicle accidents, but we welcome any case, big or small. Check out our case results. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 813-915-1110. Contact us today to learn more.