According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ most recent data [taken in 2016], in the State of Florida, there were 395,806 traffic crashes. That averages a whopping 1,084 traffic crashes every day in Florida alone. Of that number, 254,163 people, either drivers or passengers, were injured, and 3,177 were killed! This means that statistically, in 2016, one percent of people involved in auto accidents were killed, and an astounding 64% were injured! The numbers are staggering. These numbers increased from 229,248 traffic crashes five years earlier in 2011, with 182,028 injuries and 2,408 fatalities.
What’s even more astonishing, is that in that same year, 2016, there were an estimated 16,000,000 licensed drivers in Florida. Discounting the number of drivers driving in Florida at any given time from other states or countries, this means that, on average, over 40% of licensed drivers were involved in some form of traffic accident.
Just as William Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” a motor vehicle accident by any other name would be just as horrendous. There are multiple names for or types of motor vehicle accidents, including:
As soon as you’re able, either while you’re waiting for the police to arrive at the scene, after you get home, or after you’ve finished any emergency treatment at the hospital and are in stable condition, report your accident to your insurance company. No matter how small or insignificant the accident seemed or who was at fault, this is a step that cannot be overlooked. Ever. Your insurance company will assist you in getting your vehicle repaired and in defending you if you were at fault for the accident.
Besides seeking medical attention following your accident being a sound idea to protect your health, it’s also a good idea because of Florida’s PIP statute. PIP is a form of auto insurance (short for Personal Injury Protection) which, under state law, all drivers are required to carry. This coverage provides medical coverage to the person who purchases the coverage, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. But the provision for this insurance to be available is that the injured person must seek medical attention within the span on 14 days following their accident. If they wait past the 14 days, their available PIP benefits will be forfeited with absolutely no way to have the benefits reinstated.
Besides this being the law, it’s a sound practice because if you end up making an injury claim later, it's critical that you’re able to document the fact that you sought medical treatment within a reasonable amount of time. If you put off visiting a doctor, the insurance company will argue that you couldn't have been hurt very badly.
Also, while you never want to agree to giving a recorded statement to anyone else’s insurance company, you’ll have to give a recorded statement to your own insurance company. (It’s written in the contract you signed with them.) If you were injured, go ahead and tell them where you were hurt and what doctor you’ve contacted for treatment. But if you don’t think you were injured or you think you “feel fine,” just say you’re still shaken from the incident and not sure how you feel yet. Is this sneaky or untruthful? No. Why not? Because more often than you probably realize, people don’t feel like they were hurt very much in an accident because their adrenaline is still surging, and a day or two later when their nerves have calmed down, they wake up in moderate to excruciating pain.
That’s the time when you must realize that you need to first seek medical help then seek legal help.
If you or a family member was injured (or of your loved one died) in a motor vehicle accident, you can’t go up against the negligent party alone, but an experienced attorney can.
Contact Dean Burnetti Law to get the help you need today.