The City of Seminole is a relatively small town in Pinellas County. However, because of the density of the population compared to its size, car accidents happen too often. Seminole has two main thoroughfares that are responsible for most of the accidents; Park Blvd and Seminole Blvd. There are high numbers of rear-end car accidents on these roads and an alarming number of pedestrians struck and/or killed. With the traffic in and around the new Seminole City Center, the amount of traffic and risks of car accidents are increasing rapidly.
If you have been in a car accident in Seminole and have questions about what you should do, I have put together a list of frequently asked questions as a guide. At St Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas, we have handled countless car accident injury claims. Our office is only minutes away from Seminole and we are specialists in this area of law. I hope that this guide will be of assistance to you.
Should I Call the Police Even Though the Other Driver Admitted to Causing the Accident?
Yes. Because the car accident was in Seminole, either the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department or Florida Highway Patrol will have jurisdiction over the investigation. It is important to have them respond so that there is an independent investigation into the fault. Many people do not realize that even though the other driver apologized and gave you his or her insurance information, that does not mean that the insurance company is bound by their words. Also, when you do not involve the police, you are solely depending on the word of the other driver. Lastly, if you do not involve the police, it signals to the insurance company that you didn’t consider the accident to be significant. In other words, not getting the police involved is a big risk.
Should I Go to the Hospital After the Car Accident?
If your injuries are severe enough to warrant going to the hospital, then I always encourage people to do so. The closest hospitals to Seminole are Largo Medical Center or St. Pete General Hospital. Both are more than sufficient to diagnose and treat your injuries.
Many people avoid going to the hospital because they are afraid to incur medical bills. The good news is that your PIP insurance or no-fault insurance will pay for up to $10,000 of your medical bills. So, there should be plenty of money available to pay for your visit. Further, do not worry about being dropped by your insurance company or your rates going up. Unless you have had several accidents and keep using PIP, you are not in danger. Plus, if an insurance company drops you because you use the benefits that you’ve paid for, you don’t want to be a customer of that company.
What Are Common Injuries from Car Accidents in Seminole?
Since most car accidents in Seminole are going to be either T-bone or rear-end collisions, the injuries sustained to people are relatively consistent. The vast majority of injuries will be to the back or neck. Many people believe that because they went to the hospital and had x-rays that were negative, then they are fine. What people do not understand is that it is very rare to break or fracture a bone in your neck or back from a car accident. Most injuries sustained are called soft tissue injuries and occur to the discs in your spinal column. The damage to these discs can only be read through an MRI. So, even though you have a clean x-ray, you may have still experienced a serious trauma. Thus, I encourage everyone to follow-up after the hospital with a doctor who specializes in car accident injuries so that you can be referred for an MRI.
What Insurance Companies Do I Need to Speak to After a Car Accident?
After the accident, you may be bombarded with calls from insurance representatives. You will likely be called from both your own company and the at-fault driver’s company. Both will want to find out what happened and how badly you are injured. You have an obligation to notify your own insurance company of the accident within a reasonable time and to cooperate with their investigation. However, you have no duty to speak to the other insurance company or answer any of their questions. While there is often nothing to hide after an accident, I recommend to my clients not to speak to the other company because they will use anything you say that turns out to be inconsistent against you. As soon as I am hired by a client, I fax (yes, insurance companies still require us to use faxes) letters to all of the insurance companies involved to notify them that any further communication regarding the accident should be through my office only. I find that takes a big burden off of my clients and also serves to protect their case.
How Quickly Should I Follow-Up with a Doctor After the Accident?
If you have not received emergency medical care either at the hospital or and urgent care center, you should be seen immediately. If you have received emergency medical treatment, then you should be seen by a doctor specializing in car accident injuries within a few days. Keep in mind that family doctors or general practitioners do not handle car accident injuries due to the insurance billing requirements through PIP. Therefore, do not waste time setting up an appointment with one of these doctors. Always get your follow-up treatment with a specialist.
Contact a Seminole Car Accident Lawyer
Getting legal representation quickly after the accident can drastically improve your situation. A lawyer will know medical specialists in the area to refer you. A lawyer will also protect you from the insurance companies and be able to guide you through the claims process. Handling an injury claim on your own almost guarantees that you are leaving money on the table. Likewise, delaying hiring a lawyer can result in lost value of your claim. At St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas, we are experienced in handling car accident claims in Seminole and our firm has been doing so successfully for over 60 years! If you are looking for experienced lawyers who put your best interests ahead of their own, then we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.