US 19 is the most dangerous road in Pinellas County, Florida. At St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney’s McQuaid & Douglas, the majority of all of our auto accident, car accident, truck accident, and motorcycle accident cases all come from this single stretch of road. If you live in Pinellas County, this is not news to you.
US 19 is the main thoroughfare heading north and south through Pinellas County. US 19 begins just south of St. Petersburg and heads north through Pinellas Park, Lealman, Largo, Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, and Tarpon Springs before entering Pasco County. Because it is the main route of travel for commuters, traffic on US 19 is heavy almost all day. Despite the fact that the speed limit only reaches 55 mph and many police departments patrol the road, high-speed crashes are far too common. If you have been injured in an accident on US 19, consider contacting a personal injury attorney immediately to discuss the next steps.
Seek Emergency Medical Care
Whether it is right or wrong, one of the main ways that insurance companies devalue your injury claim is to point out delays in treatment or gaps in treatment. Their rationale is that if you wait to get treatment after an accident, then you could not have been that badly injured. I know this is a ridiculous position for them to take, but it is the reality of how all accident claims are viewed by them. While the focus on your health should always be your primary concern, if you have any questions about your injuries, seek medical treatment immediately. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will eliminate the insurance companies’ excuses about delays in seeking treatment.
I recommend that in every serious crash, you should proceed to the hospital. There are many excellent hospitals in Pinellas County close to any stretch of US 19. One of the most common excuses as to why someone did not go to the hospital was the cost. What people do not realize is that this hospital visit is covered by your own auto insurance PIP, or no-fault insurance. You have paid for these insurance benefits, so you might as well use them. If you are concerned that going to the hospital will increase your rates, I cannot remember a time when someone’s rates have been increased by simply getting checked out.
If your injuries are not severe enough to go to the hospital, I then recommend being treated at an urgent care center. Please make sure you call in advance to see if they handle accident cases. Before going to the urgent care, you will need to notify your own insurance company and set up a PIP claim. You will have to give that claim number to the urgent care before they will see you.
Gather Information About Your Accident on US 19
In every accident case, the police should be called. But, even though the police respond to the scene, investigate the accident and issue a ticket to the other driver, there are still steps that you can take to help yourself. Keep in mind that the insurance company investigates the accident independently from law enforcement. While they usually rely on the officer’s investigation, they can choose to place blame in other ways. For example, even though an officer issued a ticket to another driver, the insurance company can apportion some fault to you. They do this by assigning percentages of fault. So, anything that you can avoid to eliminate this chance is helpful to your case. One step is to get the contact information for all of the witnesses who witnessed the crash on US 19. Do not count on the officer to include the correct information. If the witnesses leave without their information being taken, they are gone forever.
Another helpful step is to take pictures of the damage to the vehicle. Since everyone owns a cell phone, snap a few pictures of the damage and where the vehicle ended up.
Finally, take pictures of any injuries. While this won’t necessarily change the determination of fault, it will help increase the value of your accident claim. While you can describe your injuries, pictures tell a much better story and the insurance companies will pay more if they can visualize the extent of the damage caused.
Notify Your Own Insurance Company
You have an obligation to notify your own insurance company within a reasonable time from the date of the accident. You may also need to contact them immediately to set up a claim for property damage, a rental car, and your PIP benefits. When you speak to your insurance company, tell them about your injuries, but there is no need to go into detail. They will ask you which parts of your body are in pain, so do not leave any out. All they need is notice of the accident and possible injuries, so understand that your accident lawyer will get them the details when it is appropriate.
Speak to Lawyers who Handle All Accident Cases on US 19
At St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas, we live, drive on, and work near US 19 in Pinellas County, Florida. We have handled countless cases involving auto accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Sadly, many of these cases involve serious injuries that leave our clients in significant pain. While we obviously cannot unwind the damage that has occurred, our goal is to assist our clients at every step of the way after an accident on US 19. This means assisting our clients to find proper medical professionals who care about their well-being. It means that we look out for the medical bills that our clients incur in order to cut down on the risk. And, it means that we will put together a claim that hopefully compensates our clients for their significant losses. Accidents are unexpected and change lives. We do the best that we can to help put people’s lives back together and have been doing so in the Tampa Bay area for over 60 years.
Call us today at (727) 381-2300 for a free consultation.