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Auto Accidents 101

When one thinks of dangerous activities, often the most obvious dangerous activities such as sky diving, bungee jumping, para-sailing, etc. come to mind.   Although most everyone would recognize the risks associated with these activities, many people do not recognize that the most common daily activity performed by all of us – DRIVING – is more dangerous than all of the activities listed above and is one of the leading causes of injury and death in the United States.  In fact, the National Center for Health Statistics  has compiled statistics which indicate that the odds of dying in an auto accident are just 1-100, while the odds of becoming involved in a non-fatal accident are even higher than that.  In spite of this, many people are taken by surprise when an accident happens and are uncertain how to respond.  However, the precautions you can take before a collision occurs and how you respond after an accident can prevent further injuries, reduce costs and accelerate the clean-up and repair process.

How to Protect Yourself And Your Family Before an Accident Occurs:

1.     Speak to younger drivers in your household about the risks of  driving or riding as a passenger and discuss the following leading causes of collisions:

  • Distracted Driving (Text messaging or simply being distracted by a passenger)
  • Driving under the influence
  • Carelessness or Reckless Driving
  • Speeding
  • Negligence

2.     Know Who and What Your Insurance Policy Covers or Does Not Cover And Pay Special Attention to The Following: 

–  RENTAL CAR REIMBURSEMENT which is inexpensive and which may almost immediately provide you with the use of a rental car while your car is being repaired or replaced.

–  UNINSURED/UNDER INSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE which is also inexpensive and will provide additional insurance benefits for things such as medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering in the event that you are hit by another driver who is either uninsured or does not carry much insurance.

–  DEDUCTIBLES:  Know ahead of time what deductibles you will be paying if an accident occurs and your insurance coverage kicks in.  The difference between a $250.00 deductible and a $1000.00 deductible  is not as large as you might think.


Accidents can occur day and night and under any type of weather conditions.  Taking certain precautionary measures before an accident occurs, may assist you or someone else and you  may want  to consider keeping the following items in your vehicle:

– unused disposable cell phone in case you do not have your cell phone or the battery is used up

–  pen and paper

–  medical alert tag or medical information card detailing insurance numbers, allergies and medical conditions that require special attention if you are unconscious

–  contact names and numbers of your medical providers and family members

–   first aid kit

–  emergency road flares and Mylar blanket

–  flashlight

–  bandages


1.  POLICE REPORT / DOCUMENTATION: Call 911 and request that a police report be made at the scene of the accident even if it does not appear as if anyone was injured.  Police reports (although not admissible in Court) are necessary to help determine fault and identify the names and addresses of the people involved as well as witnesses who would otherwise disappear.

2.   CALL 911 AND REQUEST MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AT THE SCENE OR  seek medical assistance as soon as possible.  Any claim you make for injuries related to the accident will be scrutinized based upon the medical records or documentation which exists to show when and where you first sought treatment after the accident.   It is also important to keep in mind that when an accident occurs, it is common for the excitement and adrenaline produced to obscure pain and symptoms which can become more and more severe just hours after a crash.

3.  TAKE PICTURES of the vehicles and scene if possible or have a family member or friend do so.


The fastest humans on earth are able to run around 23 miles per hour but the average speed of an automobile traveling on the highway is three times faster.  In short, people were never designed or meant to travel at such speeds.

When an automobile is suddenly or violently stopped, as is usual in a car or truck accident, your entire body is still moving at the speed the vehicle was traveling until your body is stopped by something such as a dashboard, steering wheel, or seat belt.  The gravitational forces exerted on the human body can be strong enough to cause significant internal injuries even when someone may appear to have few if any cuts, bruises or external injuries.

Common Automobile Accident Related Injuries:

Closed Head Injuries

Athletic Associations, schools and the Media are finally beginning to recognize the medical significance of concussions/closed head injuries. More commonly called “concussions”, a closed head injury (also known as a traumatic brain injury) can be present even  when there are little or no outward signs of injury to the head.  A closed head injury can result when an automobile, traveling faster than the body of the person riding within it, suddenly or rapidly comes to a stop.  Although the vehicle has stopped suddenly, the body does not stop at the same rate as the vehicle and the body of the individual continues to accelerate until it is stopped by a seat belt, dashboard, or solid surface.  The brain contained within the skull may continue to accelerate even after an individual’s body has stopped and the brain may strike the inside of the skull multiple times, resulting in a closed head injury.  The physical, cognitive or emotional symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, memory and attention problems, and irritability.    The symptoms may also vary depending on which portion of the brain is damaged.  In more severe cases, the brain swells and may put pressure on the brain stem which controls breathing and other basic life functions such that permanent and more severe symptoms such as paralysis or death may occur.


car accident attorney

What can happen to the Neck?

The neck must support the greater weight of your head as it whips violently back and forth in a car accident. This mechanism of injury is known as whiplash and is a very serious condition in spite of the jokes and misconceptions we sometimes hear about.   Whiplash (neck) injuries can be minor and temporary or in other instances can result in serious, permanent injuries necessitating extensive therapy or surgery.  The anatomical structures of the neck and spine are very complex.  As the diagram on this page shows, the neck consists of soft tissues (muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons and discs) as well as vertebrae or bone.  During an accident, one or more of these structures may become damaged and the onset of pain from these injuries may take hours or days to fully develop.


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What about the rest of the body?

Your head and neck are not the only sensitive parts of your body. Your organs are also susceptible to injuries from auto accidents. For instance, if your heart smacks against the breastplate hard enough it might tear the largest artery in your body, the aorta, causing internal bleeding and eventually death.  Although this is a more extreme example, the more common injuries suffered by victims in car accidents are nerve damage, back injuries, damage to your internal organs, and even your sensory mechanisms.  These injuries can seriously undermine your quality of life, making everyday activities such as walking and sitting a nightmare.

What Should I do if I’ve been in an Auto Accident?

If this is an emergency, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention immediately! One of the most common complaints  auto accident victims in Tampa speak of is that they did not feel pain right after the accident. Instead, the pain sets in after the initial excitement and trauma from the accident dissipates and gradually increases in its severity with each passing day. Luckily, you and/or the other party purchased insurance to protect yourself in the event of bodily injuries. So you’re covered right?

But I have Insurance

Victims of auto accidents are always shocked when insurance companies inevitably deny their claim. It seems unfathomable to imagine paying insurance premiums for years only to be denied fair compensation for your injuries if something happens. Unfortunately this not only happens daily but is essentially the corporate policy of many insurance companies. The insurance companies have a vested interest in denying your claim. At the end of the day, they don’t care about the injuries of you or your family, just their own bottom line.

How do I fight the Insurance companies and receive the fair compensation I deserve?

Fighting the insurance companies can be a perilous and uphill battle. The insurance companies have a corporate hierarchy of trained claims adjusters, senior adjusters, and lawyers to make sure they pay as little as possible to their deserving customers. If they have lawyers on their side, does it not make sense to have a seasoned attorney fighting for your rights?

Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Susan Lawson

Susan Lawson has been representing personal injury victims for the past 15 years. She understands the pain and damage caused by auto accidents, and understands that most auto accident victims just want to pick up their life as it was before their accident. Susan Lawson has made it her life’s mission to help auto accident victims do just that.

With over 15 years of experience, Susan Lawson knows the tricks insurance companies and their lawyers try to play on accident victims. She is experienced in getting her clients the compensation they deserve for their physical pain and emotional suffering cause by the negligence of another. Tampa personal injury lawyer Susan Lawson will fight the insurance companies and if need be, ensure that you have your day in court and the guilty parties are held accountable. If you or somebody you know have been in an accident, Put the LAWS on Your Side and call Susan Lawson today for a free personal injury case evaluation and consultation.
Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Susan Lawson
230 East Davis Boulevard Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33606
Phone: (813) 251-5297
Fax: 813-321-0572

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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