I’ve been in a car accident—What do I do next?
To protect yourself and the people you love, there is a list of things that needs to be done as soon as possible if you have been involved in a car accident.
1. STOP AND REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT
Florida Statute 316.065 mandates that if the property damage to the vehicle is estimated to be more than $50, you must report the accident to the local police department within that municipality. If you file a claim with your insurance company, they may request a police report.
2. PROTECT YOURSELF, OTHERS AND THE SCENE
Car accidents almost always occur on the road where other drivers are driving. To avoid further collisions, keep your flashers on or setup cones—something that will indicate to other drivers to yield to the area.Furthermore, if possible, the vehicles involved in the accident should remainwhere they are until the police arrive on the scene.
3. LIMIT YOUR CONVERSATION WITH THE OTHER PARTY
In situations where there is property damage or bodily injury, be conscious of what you say around the other party. Try to limit your discussion to the basics such as insurance information. It is very important not to admit any fault or liability.
4. BE ACCURATE AND PRECISE
Car accidents often create a stressful and chaotic environment. It is important to try to remain as calm as possible so that you can be precise. It is important to get names, addresses and telephone numbers of everyone involved in the accident. At the very least, write down the license plate number and also obtain the other party’s insurance company and vehicle identification number (VIN) of their car.
Once the police arrive on the scene, make sure you tell the officer exactly what happened. Do not allow the other party to speak for the both you—make sure that you are able to tell what happened from your viewpoint. Do not speculate or guess.
5. TAKE PICTURES
Sometimes there are various stories from each party as to how the accident occurred. Utilize your smart phone to take pictures. Taking pictures of the vehicles and surrounding areas could help tell the story as to what happened.
6. REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
It is crucial to notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. They may require additional paperwork and even may have a time frame on filing a claim.
7. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
Sometimes injuries in car accidents aren’t apparent and clients began feeling pain a day or two following the accident. In Florida, you have 14 days to seek medical accidents after a car accident and I on the 15th day you lose the right to make a medical claim. Car accidents can cause permanent disability to areas such as your spinal cord, neck, or shoulders. Documentation regarding these injuries can help your case greatly.
8. KEEP DOCUMENTATION
All accident-related information including information of the other parties, copy of the police report, insurance claim information and photographs should be kept in a confidential safe place. In the event that a suit is filed, these documents are very important and may even be requested by the other party.
9. OBTAIN LEGAL COUNSEL
Consulting an attorney after a car accident is crucial. An attorney can provide you with legal advice as to what are the next steps for you. Attorneys are here to protect your rights and interests. The other party may try to pay for your damage without a case being filed, insurance companies may attempt to take a statement immediately after an accident, etc. It is important that you have consulted an attorney to discuss your legal rights prior to making any crucial decisions.
Click HERE to see more information on uninsured motorist accidents.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you have rights. Our legal team here at Quattrochi, Torres, and Taormina, PA want to help you understand Florida law and determine if you have a claim. Please contact us today so that we can put our experience to work and maximize the value of your claim.
Quattrochi, Torres, and Taormina – Justice For The Injured