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What to Do After an Accident

After doing this for almost forty years, the problem I see for people in motor vehicle collisions and also slip and falls are basically the same. What I see most frequently is people in car accidents may exchange information, but they do not call the police. What ends up happening is many times there is an argument about what happened in terms of who was at fault. If a police officer comes upon the scene immediately, usually, it is pretty obvious who was at fault in the motor vehicle collision. If the person that was not at fault gets injured as a result, then that part of the issue is resolved.

In terms of slip and falls in any type of commercial establishment, a lot of people get up and just walk out. Many times, they do not get hurt and that is fine. However, many times they do get hurt and did not follow up immediately, and do not follow up within a day or so with the establishment. Please remember most stores have cameras. They would be able to detect a person is telling the truth that they fell. However, many stores do not store their video very long, and if you wait too long, the video has disappeared.

What ends up happening when you do not report it, they are going to deny it ever happened. It will be your word based on no substantiation. If you end up slipping and falling, or some piece of merchandise falls on your head, please make sure it is reported immediately. If it turns out you feel ok, then you do not lose anything by doing it. What people do not understand is many times the feelings of the injury do not start until sometime after the car accident or fall. With car accidents and slip and falls, the adrenaline is running high in the body. When the adrenaline stops and you go to sleep that night, your body tightens up. As a result, you start feeling problems that were caused by the collision or fall because your body is not in constant motion, and your mind is not running 100 mph which is keeping you from feeling the pain.

Obviously, if you broke a bone or have some type of severe injury, you will know immediately. However, there are a lot of back and neck injuries that turn out to be very severe that you will not notice in a car accident or slip and fall until the next day.

As I stated above, the fact that there are cameras in most business establishments helps a case. If you report it immediately, and get to a lawyer immediately, a lawyer can write that establishment and say the camera should not be rewound and should be saved. Many times, it comes out to be excellent evidence that you did nothing wrong except you fell on a wet floor or something fell off the display that was stacked improperly. You often help yourself in proving the hardest part of a personal injury case, and that is who was at fault.

Take Care of Your Body

You have car insurance and, hopefully, regular insurance. I just talked about a sequence of events for slip and falls and motor vehicle collisions where people do not report them immediately to the police or report it immediately to the owner of the establishment. People end up having pain if not immediately, then normally the next day. However, they figure the pain is going to go away, and they do not seek medical attention. In this say and age, almost everyone has a family doctor. They can make an appointment with their family doctor immediately. The longer you wait to complain about the injury, the biggest problem is that injury may get worse. Money is going to come and go if you have a case against the other driver in a car accident, or the owner of the store in a slip and fall. However, your body may not adjust properly if it is not treated quickly.

If you are in a car accident, you have what is called No-Fault/PIP insurance on your vehicle. Unless their some type of deductible, it gives you at least $15,000.00 for medical bills and/or lost wages. Most insurance companies except for one, will allow you to utilize that amount whether it be $15,000.00 or more for your lost wages.

For the medical bills, most people do have either private health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicaid. You can use health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid to pay for the medical bills.

One thing I also see with slip and falls, motor vehicle collisions, or any other type of injury you believe someone else is at fault is people stop treating before they get better. Obviously, especially with the COVID pandemic, people have other things to worry about in life, and they seem to believe the injury will go away. Sometimes it does, and most times it does not. Obviously, a lawyer is there to help you get fair money for your injuries, not too much for it, and not too little for it. The more you treat, and the more the doctor can find with wrong with you, the fair value of your case increases. However, and even more importantly, you only have one body. If you do not get your injuries correct as best as you can, it is not going to come back after a certain period of time. It is not worth having any problems with your body that will never go away. We all have enough problems as we get older in life, or have other things happen to us not to have someone else cause you an injury that you do not treat and rehab properly.

It sounds self-serving, but you should contact an attorney immediately. The longer it goes, the more harm can come to you when it is not your fault. In terms of a car accident, you need to have certain forms sent by the insurance company to fill out to get medical bills and/or lost wages paid.

Prepare for What Happened

In terms of what happened, sometimes there are independent witnesses and they need to be contacted. Many times, people do not want to get involved but if you get them early they will tell you exactly what they saw. If you try to get them two months later, a lot of them will not be interested in getting involved. What is going to be happening now with the states allowing more activity on the roadways and also people being able to frequent businesses, there is going to be a rush of people trying to get to places they need to go, that have not been able to go for a while, or to go shopping when they have not been able to for a while. That is going to increase the problems in terms of car accidents, and will increase the traffic in the stores. In the last few months, most establishments have had little business or no business. Now to go back to full business again in the near future, they are not going to be equipped to do it, and as I said above, people will be trying to get places very quickly, and, not paying attention to the roadway.

Any responsible lawyer will get you in as quickly as possible. The interview does take a while because you want to go through all of what happened, and will go over any injuries you had in the past. Insurance companies are the best in terms of trying to find out whether you had a previous injury. It is important that the lawyer knows to get the previous medical records and find out how long it hurt and how long you have not been experiencing pain for that previous injury or injuries. Sometimes, people still have pain from a previous injury, but the pain has gotten much worse. You need to talk to your lawyer about how the differences in how the pain has changed or increased as a result of what happened. In all types of personal injury cases, the devil is in the details. Defense lawyers are very good at attempting to poke holes in a person’s treatment, and the injuries they sustained. The more upfront you are, and the quicker you get treatment, the easier you can explain to the doctor that you had a problem, but it is slightly different or majorly different, from the recent injury, can be the difference in receiving fair money, as opposed to seeing no money.

As I have stated above doing this for almost forty years and handling thousands of cases, you understand what exactly needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Also, lawyers need to keep in constant contact with their clients to make sure the proper forms are executed.

Get Your Vehicle Fixed

Another reason to contact an attorney immediately is because of the damage to your vehicle. If a police report is done and done correctly, the striking vehicle’s insurance is obligated to fix your car or give you fair market value if it cannot be fixed. Also, they are supposed to supply a rental car while your vehicle is being fixed or the appropriate time to find a new car. What happens many times if you are not represented, the insurance company will offer to pay for your car, and also try to give you a certain amount of money to try to resolve the case for your pain and suffering. Generally, it is way below what you have already endured and will endure as to pain. However, under most laws, if you accept that money, that is all the money you are going to get. An attorney can stop that from happening and certainly advise a client not to sign anything. They are still obligated to fix your car and provide a rental car if their insured is at fault.

Other Insurance

I would say also in terms of falling in terms of some commercial establishment or being hurt in some commercial establishment and it was not your fault, some establishments have what is called “med-pay”. That means there is a certain amount of money they have in insurance to pay for your injuries. A lot of them do not, but some do. It is important the attorney contact the establishment to find out if med-pay is available. You do not have to pay back the med-pay as opposed to paying back health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. Under the law, you have a duty to pay back any insurance you have on your own whether it be the three above. You do not have to pay back your car insurance payments for any of the medical care or lost wages.

Need to Have Enough Insurance

Unfortunately, one of the problems I run into is people have very limited insurance. I have written about this before and you can only afford what you can for car insurance. However, you see ads for certain insurance companies stating that they will allow you do pick any type of insurance policy you want for car insurance. That really makes no sense because every insurance company will allow you to tailor your policy the way you want. There has never been an insurance company that tells you that you have to have so much insurance, unless it is mandated by law. Therefore, it is just a bait line that gets you to go to that insurance company. Unfortunately, some of those insurance companies are just extremely cheap in trying to get you fair money for your injuries if you need to go after them for what is called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is exactly what it means. The person that struck you did not have insurance on their vehicle. Underinsured motorist coverage means the other person had insurance, but your injuries are more than their insurance. You are then able to go after your own underinsured motorist coverage to try to get up to the amount of fair money for your injuries.

I have written about this before and people only have so much money especially with people losing their jobs in the last few months. However, you need to find out the price of the different types of insurance for your medical bills, lost wages, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The prices do not go up dramatically when you increase your limits. You need to ask how much it would be to raise your limits to a higher amount. You can only afford what you can. However, you do not want to have less insurance than you could possibly need. I hope you never have to use it. But if you do and you only have $15,000.00 for your medical bills and lost wages, and you do not have short term or long term disability through your employer, you can end up spending the $15,000.00 in lost wages within a short period of time, and you will not be able to get the rest of the lost wages paid until you get paid by the other side. What happens many times is the other side does not have a lot of insurance and you will never get back the full amount of money you lost at work or medical bills. Hopefully, people do have short term/long term disability through their employer, but that is becoming less and less.

Talk to Your Attorney

The attorney and his/her staff are there to answers your questions. Never be afraid to call an attorney and ask. The worst type of client is one who never calls. No one wants to hear from a client every day unless the client has problems every day, but not to hear from a client for month and months after the case starts, can be extremely problematic for the client. The client may not know something and continues to do something that by the time you hear about it, you cannot help. What ends up happening when you have an injury is you have to get medical records and bills. Generally speaking, in the past, the lawyers would get them. The attorney would pay for the medical records and they would bill back to the client when the case is resolved, the amount of money he/she paid for the medical records. However, there was a law passed some years ago called the HiTECH Act that allowed either the attorney or the client to receive medical records for a very low fee. You would be unbelievably surprised as to what doctors charge to supply medical records. Most will charge at least $25.00 to retrieve the records and then charge all kinds of money per page. The HiTECH Act stated a patient or designated third party would have to pay $6.50 whether it was five pages of records or five hundred pages of records. The reason for that is because almost all medical establishments are required by law, to have their records stored digitally. Therefore, what they can do is burn the records to a disc or send a secured email with the records attached.

Unfortunately, what has happened in the last few months is a federal court decision stated the patient can get their own records for a nominal amount of money, but a third party, such as a lawyer, cannot. Therefore, I always ask my clients to get their own records and I provide them with the forms in which to get those records. I tell them I do not have a problem getting them myself, but the costs come out of any amounts received at the end. Furthermore, I would reimburse them if they are low on money for the amount of money they are paying. There are a lot of good doctors. However, doctors make a lot of money for their services, and then still charge patients and lawyers for their medical records at a high price. The law is still intact for patients to get their records for a very minimal amount of money. In a case that lasts a long time, that can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in medical records that come out of the client’s pocket when the case has ended.


I have tried to give you somewhat of an overview of what should be done. I have written about this before, but I still see it happening a lot where people do not call the police, do not explain to the police what happened, do not call their insurance company immediately, or wait too much time to contact a lawyer. It can end up becoming problematic for them in terms of getting bills paid, lost wages paid, and getting healthy. Most people do get healthy as a result of a motor vehicle collision or slip and fall. Also other types of injuries such as a dog bite. However, the longer you wait, the fewer chances you have in getting healthy. Insurance companies are very quick at sending you to a doctor of their choice who will state 98% of the time you are healthy and do not need any further treatment, even though you are not. Then you will have to sue your own insurance company to get your medical bills and lost wages paid. That can take years.

I hope no one ever needs an attorney for a car accident, slip and fall, or any other type of personal injury they believe was as a result of someone else’s negligence. A lot of people never do. However, thousands and thousands end up having that type of problem at least once in their lifetime. The only way you can get fair money is to get a lawyer who cares, will listen to you, and will be there to answers your questions. It is no fun being injured as a result of someone making a mistake. The last thing you need is to have to handle it by yourself, wait too long to receive the treatment you need, not receiving payment for your medical bills and/or lost wages, or fair money for your pain and suffering. I will say again, you are only entitled to fair money for your injuries. You are not entitled to more. If somehow the insurance company wants to give you more, which usually is the other way around, then that is great. However, you are entitled to fair money and a good attorney will pursue the case as far as it needs to go to get fair money. It is your decision at the end, but you need to be informed about the plus or minuses of what is occurring.