No One Tells You the Hardest Part Often Comes After the Car Accident
Even a minor car accident can easily ruin your day, but what comes after and the way you handle it is often what can cost you so much more.
Here is an experience you never want to see yourself involved in, whether you were in the car during the crash or not. Indeed, the number of victims rarely coincides with the number of people who actually were in the vehicles: accidents can have an enormous impact on the lives of not just the people who are injured, but on the lives of their family members, as well.
Based on the high rate of auto accidents in Florida, your chances of being involved in at least one accident during your lifetime are quite high. Auto and motorcycle accidents are responsible for over 40,000 deaths in the United States each year, and injuries multiply even more when also taking into account those who are victims of other people’s negligence.
The car accident lawyers at Christopher Ligori & Associates represent victims of auto accidents with a combined experience of over 40 years. They have tried over 150 cases to verdict and are well known in the legal field as aggressive, highly intelligent and highly experienced counsel.
Car Accident Numbers Speak for Themselves
We are several million drivers on the roads every day. Every year the Florida DMV issues 800,000 plus new drivers licenses. New residents to Florida with out-of-state licenses reach well over 400,000 annually.
In other words, every single day, we make our way through highways and roads rumbling with cars, other motor vehicles, and pedestrians. Unfortunately, we have no control over someone else’s mistakes or driving abilities.
Besides the whole range of physical injuries one can endure (like fractures, herniated discs, and other common traumatic injuries), car accidents can be the source of an unspeakable stress. When facing such a challenging experience, the last thing you want to do is having to deal with paperwork or complex legal processes.
And That’s When Ligori Law Comes In
Christopher Ligori & Associates car accident lawyers have been representing victims of auto accidents in Tampa and its surroundings for a combined experience of over 40 years. We have tried over 150 cases to verdict and are well known in the legal field for our aggressive, strategic and highly experienced approach.
Get your FREE consultation from one of our experienced Tampa car accident attorneys by filling out our contact form or calling us at 877-444-2929.
6 Things to Remember Immediately After a Tampa Car Accident
Stay Exactly Where You Are
The stress of an accident can be overwhelming and if the damages only appear to be minor, with no injuries, it IS so tempting to just pretend nothing happened.
Stop right there. Even if the accident looks insignificant, you ALWAYS have to STOP.
- Make sure the other driver is ok.
- Provide assistance if needed (call 911).
- Report to law enforcement and stick around.
Of course, you wish you were anywhere else and this is all really stressful, but adopting a calm attitude will prevent you from doing any foolish mistake.
Do not blame the other driver, but protect yourself as well: do not start apologizing and telling everyone it’s your mistake as it could be viewed as admitting liability. You need to keep composed.
Report The Accident
Call the police immediately, even if no one was injured, and file an accident report. Auto/motorcycle accident reports are necessary to help determine fault and identify names and addresses of witnesses and parties involved.
Do not count on the other driver’s honesty either: fake or expired insurances will be of no use for the procedure following your accident and as many as 1 in 7 drivers have no car insurance.
That’s why auto/motorcycle accident reports are necessary to help determine fault and identify names and addresses of witnesses and parties involved. This is a proof that might save you a LOT of trouble.
Gather Sufficient Information
Make sure that the report is thorough and complete. You might have to repeat the story several times to the law enforcement or your insurance company.
Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers recommend that you immediately write down the following information and include interviews with all parties and witnesses as well as diagrams of the auto accident scene.
- Get the driver’s name, address, insurance company name and policy number as well as the make, model, license plate number and color of their vehicle.
- Take a whole lot of pictures of the property damage. This single step is crucial. Remember: a picture is worth a thousand words and won’t be altered by your being shaken up.
- Gather the names and phone numbers of all auto accident witnesses, as the police officer may not have time to do so. Types of injuries suffered in auto accidents may include whiplash, head and brain injury, paralysis, neck and back pain, ruptured disks, and injuries to the elbows, shoulders, wrists, ankles and knees. This is not a complete list but reflects some of the most common types of injuries suffered in auto/motorcycle accidents.
Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
Any claims you may have for damages resulting from your injuries depend on the medical records linking the auto accident to those injuries.
The more time that lapses between the accident and your treatment, the more difficult it is to prove a connection.
Getting to a doctor within a week of the accident is standard but we recommend seeing one as soon as possible.
Pain and Suffering: Calculating the Intangible
Einstein’s theory of relativity has nothing on the complexity of calculating pain and suffering. How do you put a price on how a person feels? You can’t. Pain and Suffering is one of the most commonly misunderstood terms in law, because it’s not based on how you feel – at least, not entirely.
For legal purposes, the words “pain and suffering” mean physical and emotional damage, as well as discomfort caused by medical treatment of the injuries (surgery, physical therapy, etc.), limitations on daily activities, depression, scarring and disfigurement, and post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the accident. But judges, lawyers, and adjusters can’t base the amount of monetary compensation on how you say you feel. Instead, they look at:
- The severity of your injuries.
- When you reported injuries to your doctor.
- The tests and treatment you received.
- Whether the medical treatment you received was reasonable for the types of injuries you have.
- The pain associated with the medical treatment (ie. surgery is painful).
- Whether you’ve followed your doctor’s orders (for health and legal reasons, always do as your doctor says!).
- The types of medications that were prescribed to you.
- Whether you had pre-existing injuries or conditions at the time of the accident.
- Whether you have a history of filing personal injury claims.
- Your sex, age, marital status and occupation.
- The likelihood of a full recovery, or whether your injuries will affect you for years to come.
- The impact the injuries have had on your home life and work.
- Your level of pain tolerance.
- Whether your actions are consistent with your reported injuries.
That last criterion is the one that gets the most press, and it’s a reality that insurance companies have been known to hire private investigators to check if you are living your life like an injured person, or whether you are carrying heavy grocery bags from your car to your home with a spring in your step. While you should never exaggerate your injuries – and definitely don’t walk around with a neck brace unless your doctor says you need it – you should take care to not push yourself before you are completely healed.
While those are the factors that influence the amount you’ll receive for pain and suffering, calculating the amount is not an exact science. The amount is usually discussed as a range i.e. 30-40 thousand dollars instead of an exact number.
That amount is decided based on the circumstances of your case. If you’ve had horrible injuries requiring surgery, the amount will be on the higher end. Also, if there were aggravating circumstances, like drunk driving, the amount will be even higher. If you suffered some whiplash, moderate medical bills, and no loss of wages, your amount will be less. However, there are so many factors to this decision-making process that it’s impossible to make a prediction for how much money to expect.
We understand that pain, suffering, inconvenience, lost wages, and the time spent dealing with insurance companies cannot be repaired, or replaced. But, having a knowledgeable advocate on your side through this process may help you get the most possible compensation and protect you from further financial injury.
Talk to Your Attorney
Contact your attorney before you speak to any insurance adjuster, even if it is your own insurance company. We know this too well: insurance company are often placing priority on profit rather than people and might not be looking out for YOUR best interests.
This advice also applies to interaction with the insurance provider of the party at fault. Your attorney will also answer your questions about how to get your medical bills paid and your vehicle repaired.
Get a free case evaluation from a trusted Tampa auto accident attorney by filling out the contact form to the right of the page.