What to do if you are involved in a car / truck motor vehicle accident aka MVA

What to do if you are involved in a car / truck motor vehicle accident aka MVA

Over the years there has been a re-occurring theme in the clinic when a new accident victim enters the office for the first time. The statement we hear goes something like this; “I just did not know what to do after the accident”. After some continued conversation the individuals do not know if they should exit the vehicle, move the vehicle, exchange information, call / report the accident to the authorities, wait for a police officer / state trooper to arrive on the scene, go to the ER or even seek treatment, report the claim to their insurance company, file a claim for property / medical or both, and so on…

If you have ever been involved in an injury event you know that the whole experience is a bit overwhelming as your brain seems to stop functioning as it did a few moments before impact. Adrenaline is a funny thing. I remember when my oldest child got hurt and required a trip to the ER. I had her in my arms at the check-in counter and the lady asked for my phone number, but I could not remember it in its entirety. I was shocked and to be honest a bit embarrassed. In my defense, we recently moved and had a new number, but regardless of my excuses, stress can wreak havoc on your brain’s function. So basically, you need to be prepared and have the steps you need to take in writing, on you or in your car. I keep a list of what to do with my registration and insurance cards in the glovebox of my vehicle because apparently I cannot be trusted with even the slightest information recall responsibilities while under stress.

There are many resources to draw from when it comes to what you need to do when you get involved in a motor vehicle accident, motor vehicle collision, car accident, car wreck, trucking accident and so on. I will try my best to keep this simple and offer you a check list you can print out and keep in your car along with a blank crash report sheet that is specific to the state of Florida. Other states have their own specific paperwork.

So, you just got banged up in an accident. What next?

1.  Safely bring the vehicle to a stop and position the vehicle in a way that is not obstructing the flow of traffic or affecting the safety of others. If this cannot happen then ask for help and / or call a tow truck.

2.  Check yourself and passengers for injury.

3.  Call 911. Report the accident, injuries, and request police. You will most likely have to wait for an officer to arrive on-scene, this is worth the wait. Please do not leave the scene before an officer is able to make an official report. You also want to be provided with a copy of the initial report the officer produces and then when the official report is made available order / buy it asap .

4.  Check for traffic before stepping out of your vehicle.

5.  Exchange information (no personal information as the age of identity theft is upon us) with other drivers using the form attached here.

6.  Document the accident. Photograph damages not only to your vehicle but any and all other vehicles that have been involved. Photograph visible injuries, where vehicles have stopped, skid marks and road conditions. Speak to any witnesses and get their contact information. This may become quite valuable if liability comes into question.

7.  Provide police officers at the scene with an official statement, make sure this is 100% accurate and truthful, this is not the time for embellishment or untruths.

8.  Call your  insurance company and report the accident. In Florida we have Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage that becomes your primary insurance payor for accident related medical treatment. The claim number your insurance carrier generates will need to be provided to any healthcare facility that provides services to you as it relates to injuries incurred in the accident.

9.  When presenting to a healthcare facility you will need a valid driver’s license, your auto-insurance card, medical claim number and the crash report / information exchange sheet. This way the facility has all the information needed to be able to verify insurance benefits and start the claims submission process as this is a time-sensitive process as per Florida statutes.

If you feel that you or anyone else in your vehicle has been injured, please seek medical attention immediately. Deferring treatment is a big mistake and can have long term negative impact on your health. If you feel this is an emergency, please go to the nearest hospital / urgent care facility without delay. If the physicians on-staff at the hospital / urgent care discharge you, please make sure you follow up for rehabilitative care as this will ensure proper healing as you age. If this is not an emergency, facilities like ours tend to be specifically equipped to handle most non-emergent injury / pain needs. Give us a call we are here to help.

Untreated or mistreated injuries are now known to cause changes to the muscles deep to the spine that can have long-term negative effects on health and promote arthritis as we age. So make sure you are diligent with treatment after an injury. Please do not just ignore the problem or think self-medication strategies are enough to get you by. We are here to help and make the process as fast and easy as possible.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We would love to help you in your time of need

Thank you

Dr. Adam Zeccardi DC, FIAMA

North Florida Spine and Injury Center

7855 Argyle Forest Blvd., Suite 905
Jacksonville FL, 32244

Phone: 904 541-6144
Fax: 904 541-6154






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