A hypothetical situation: You’re driving to Publix on a sunny Saturday morning and you’re stopped at a red light. Suddenly you’re hit from behind and your car is pushed forward! “What the heck was that?” you say as you look in your rear view mirror. There’s someone back there waving at you and they motion to pull over into a parking lot. So you move your car off the road and get out to look at your rear bumper as the other driver apologizes profusely. There’s only minor damage, but you’re a little shook up and confused about what to do. Most people have a tendency to want to be nice and so if the other driver urges you to write down his insurance company information and says “it’s minor, let’s not make a big issue about it,” you may be tempted to let it go. That might be a bad decision and here is why:
A couple days later you wake up in the morning and feel like your neck was judo chopped and you can barely get out of bed. What happened? It is quite possibly a delayed onset of whiplash, caused by an abrupt backward and/or forward jerking motion of the head, often as a result of a car accident. It is not unusual at all to feel fine for 24-48 hours after the actual trauma and then feel severe pain.
Some symptoms of whiplash:
- Neck pain and stiffness.
- Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades.
- Low back pain.
- Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand.
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering.
- Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue.
Continuing with our hypothetical situation, you call the insurance company provided by the driver who hit you and they never heard of him. Strange, you think, he seemed like such a nice guy!
We’re going to go back to some issues we write about often because they’re important. When you are involved in an accident here are some dos and don’ts:
- Do try to have a police report filled on scene, especially if you are certain the other driver is at fault.
- Do not admit any guilt or even speak to others involved in the accident except to render aid.
- Do take pictures of damage, insurance papers, license plates, the surroundings, traffic signs or anything that might be relevant to proving your point of view about what happened.
- Do try to get the names and contact information for any witnesses who might help prove your side of the story about the accident.
- Do not post anything on social media about the accident.
- Do call a personal injury lawyer who specializes in accidents. Even if you think you are fine, you may have hidden injuries and the time to be screened for them is right away.
How do you choose an attorney?
- Experience: Hiring one with experience in handling similar cases like yours.
- Focus: Find one who is focused on your case and not juggling multiple cases at once.
- Reputation: Reputation of the attorney in negotiating with insurance companies can play a major key in the amount of damages you receive.
- Personality: Choose an attorney that you can get along with and also trust through the process.
There is never any obligation when you reach out to us at Lazarus and Lazarus to ask questions. Making the right decision about who will look out for your rights when you are injured in an accident is extremely important and we want you to take your time and make the choice that’s right for you. Call us at 954-356-0006 any time for a completely confidential consultation.