Florida Auto Accident - What You Should And Shouldn't Do
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After an auto accident, you're often in shock and just not thinking clearly. You're almost certainly not thinking strategically, but experts say that when it comes to auto insurance claims, thinking strategically is a smart thing to do. We asked Brian LaBovick, an attorney in South Florida who specializes in auto accident cases, what he thinks victims of an auto accident should and shouldn't do.
What you should do
Here's what LaBovick thinks you should do:
The first thing that you need to do if you've been in an automobile accident is get checked out by a doctor. Go to the hospital, or if you're not feeling that hurt (you're just feeling stiff and sore), go to your doctor that day or the very next morning.
There are a lot of latent injuries and a lot of injuries come after a week and get worse and worse. Unless you get them documented immediately, you are hurting your ability to bring a claim in the future. So, it's important that you go to the doctor or hospital and complain about everything that hurts from that accident.
I've had plenty of people who have walked into the hospital and said, "My neck hurts, my neck hurts", and they're not thinking about their lower back because their lower back doesn't hurt as much as their neck. Then three days later, they say, "You know, my lower back hurts, but it didn't hurt as much as my neck before. Now, the pain is coming on stronger and then three weeks after that the person says, "I can't even move", and three months after that, they need a back operation.
Because of the physiology that occurs, sometimes injuries take time to come out. Sometimes they take a week; sometimes they take even longer, up to six weeks. You can herniate a disc in your back and not have that herniation really affect your nerves for a couple of weeks, so you need to get checked out by a doctor. That's the very first thing that they should do.
Get you insurance claim going
In addition to getting medical attention, LaBovick thinks it's important to get your insurance claim going. He explained, "The second thing that they should do is find somebody to start to investigate their claim, gather their documentation, help them document their ability to prove that they were in this accident and prove that they were hurt. That person is usually an attorney, but sometimes they have family investigators, or have an investigator in their family and they can use that person to start the process."
What you shouldn't do
Policyholders often make the mistake of cooperating with their insurance companies a bit too much. LaBovick explained what policyholders shouldn't do.
They shouldn't make any admissions to anyone about the accident or talk to the insurance company for the other party. I would say that they shouldn't go to an insurance defense doctor if they don't have to. Under the PIP laws, the insurance adjuster for the PIP insurance company can send their own insured to one of their own doctors who will, in almost all instances, say that person is not hurt and that they don't need to go to the doctor anymore, regardless of the facts of the case. They are mandated to do that, so I would say, don't go to an insurance doctor with that caveat.
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