What Needs To Be Done Right After An Auto Accident?

Host:           

Good morning once again from Injury Florida Law Firm where we are once again joined by Katherine Stone. Always learning so much and just so appreciative of having you be a part of our show. Today, we’re going to focus again on auto accidents, which can be so stressful. I know they happen all the time here in the Bay Area. I think a lot of people, no matter how many times we say it, they still get a little confused, I think understandably, right after an auto accident on everything that needs to be done. I’m sure you get these questions a lot?

Katherine:   

All the time. Yes. I say the sooner you give us a call the better, because then we can literally walk you through every single step from beginning to end. Obviously you’ve heard it on the radio, it’s very important that if you’ve sustained any injuries, that you seek the appropriate medical treatment within 14 days. Otherwise, it can affect your personal injury protection benefits, your PIP benefits. They can actually reduce that down from 10,000 to 2,500 if you don’t seek the proper medical care. So you know, making sure that, if you do have injuries but then maybe they’re not severe enough to go to the hospital, that you make sure that you know, and we tell the clients what their options are.

The other reason to get involved early on is with property damage. A lot of times clients, they may not want to report it to their insurance company, which is understandable. But if it’s clearly the other person’s fault and you need to get your vehicle fixed, well, we need to go ahead and make that at least let your insurance company know, because if for some reason there’s going to be a liability dispute, your insurance company can actually help you in litigating and pursuing liability against the at-fault driver. They actually can help a lot of times. We have one right now where our client’s insurance is going to bat for him saying, “No, our client did not cause this. You need to fix his vehicle. You need to provide coverage for this.” And so it’s not always the best idea not to report it to your insurance company.

And also, making sure that you know if you do have to go through your insurance company, because they will then seek subrogation against the other driver’s insurance and they can get any money back that you had to spend on your deductible for you. But there’s some policies that may demand that you go to certain body shops, and if you don’t know that, that’s something that we make sure and point out to you, “Hey, you have to do this.”

Host:      

Well, and it’s interesting, because I think sometimes even if you think that things are going well, and the insurance company is helping you out, and you don’t know what you don’t know, so I can imagine at least picking up the phone and making that phone call and saying, “Is this right? Am I doing the correct step?” would be worth your while.

Katherine:   

Right. The other thing is oftentimes adjusters will call and ask for a recorded statement. With your own insurance policy, you’re obligated under your contract to provide a recorded statement to your insurance company. You’re not under an obligation to provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. A lot of times there will be a reason why that other insurance company wants your recorded statement. That’s one of the things that we go over whether or not we provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance or not, because again, you’re not obligated, but you don’t know that.

Host:     

Yeah. Anything else you think before we wrap up that people should really know or at least consider right after an accident, obviously knowing that they’re okay? Any other take home pieces of advice?

Katherine:    

I mean, making sure that the medical and making sure your vehicle, but also, there’s things that you may not know about. Maybe you have a newer vehicle, you may be entitled to a diminished-value claim so that you’re actually compensated for the decrease in value of your vehicle. A lot of times clients don’t know about that.

Host:     

I don’t know if insurance companies would be so great.

Katherine:   

They probably don’t want to be talking about this. Then other things like things that are damaged inside the vehicle such as-

Host:  

Car seats?

Katherine: 

Car seats. I know we’ve talked about that before. I had one a while back where he had a personal phone and a business phone, both of them because the crash was so bad, they both got destroyed, so we sought to have their, you know. iPhones are expensive. We got brand new iPhones for both business and personal because they were damaged as part of the accident. It’s things like that that people may not always … You always think your vehicle’s your four wheels, what you drive. But there’s other aspects that we can seek a claim for.

Host: 

If you are ever unsure, again, this is why she is on our show, because she wants to put the word out. That if you have questions, please give her a call. You’re available I know online. You’re on social media, text messaging.

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