What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Florida

Being involved in a car accident is terrifying and traumatic. If you live in Florida, the chances that you will be involved in a crash in any given year is around 5%. That may not sound like much, but given that there are around 1,200 car crashes daily, you do not want to take your chances.

Furthermore, according to statistics by the National Safety Council, there is a 1 in 107 chance of death during a Florida car crash. The state reports the third-highest number of accident deaths in the U.S.

But let’s look at the slightly less grim statistics for a moment. Traffic fatalities are declining after rising between 2018 and 2021. The fourth most accidents in cities happen in Tampa every year. Accidents mainly occur due to reckless driving, speeding, distractions, and bad weather.

If you are involved in an accident in Florida, you must take specific steps immediately, regardless of whether the accident was your fault.

One of these steps includes finding an experienced lawyer. If you read the ‘about our firm’ page on our website, you will find that we advise car accident victims to consult only with experienced attorneys. This will ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Check Whether Everyone Involved Is Safe

An accident will spike your adrenaline. It is crucial to try to stay calm so you can assess yourself and others for injuries. If a passenger in your car or the other car is unconscious or hurt, call 911 immediately.

Remember that your adrenaline can mask your injuries, so you need to take a few moments to make sure you are not seriously injured.

If you feel up to it, get out of the car to inspect the damage. If the accident happened in the middle of a highway or other traffic flow, try to move your car to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights and put down a warning triangle for oncoming traffic.

If your car or another car is badly damaged, do not try to move it. Doing so may make the situation worse.

Call the Police

If there is an injury, extensive damage, or a possible DUI, it is mandatory to call the police. The responding officer will secure the scene and file an accident report. You will need this document to file an insurance claim or a personal injury case against the other driver.

Get the Other Driver’s Information

When the scene is secure, and everyone is out of harm’s way, you should gather information from the other driver. Get their name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, and insurance details.

Get the contact information of potential witnesses on the scene. Later, you may be able to use their accounts as proof that you did not cause the accident.

Take Photos of the Scene and Damage

Use your phone to take as many photographs of the scene and vehicle damage as possible. If there are malfunctioning traffic lights or broken signs that may have contributed to the accident, take photos of them. The same goes for large potholes or other damage to the road surface.

Take pictures of the damage to all involved vehicles and the accident scene. This includes skid marks on the ground, glass, other pieces from the vehicles, and everything else that seems important.

While you can remember everything, write down the most critical information about the accident or make notes on your phone. Include the date and time of the accident, the direction you were going, the weather conditions, the location, and a short, factual description of the accident itself.

Keep Your Rights in Mind

When you speak to your insurance company, refrain from saying things they can use against you. Relay the facts and explain what happened from your point of view. For example, if you skipped a red light, do not say it in so many words. Instead, say that you crossed the intersection while the light was yellow.

The same applies when you speak to people at the scene itself. Do not apologize because this can be misconstrued as admitting guilt. You can ask whether the other driver and passengers are alright, but never add an apology.

Also, do not be tempted to speculate on fault and how the accident may have been avoided. The less you say after an accident scene, the less can be used against you later.

Get Medical Attention

Get a medical checkup before even thinking of speaking to your insurance provider. Some injuries take a while to show up, so you will need a thorough medical evaluation. You can also use this to file a personal injury case later.

Stick to your treatment regimen and follow your doctor’s instructions. Doing this will help strengthen your case if it lands in court.

Also, you must keep proof of medical expenses like blood tests, X-rays, medication, and consults. This will serve as evidence for your insurance claim and legal case.

Consulting a Lawyer After the Accident

It is always better to consult a lawyer if you are involved in an accident. Florida is a no-fault state so that a lawyer can explain the best course of action for your situation.

Moreover, your lawyer can fight for fair compensation on your behalf. A lawyer specializing in Florida car accident cases can advocate for you when speaking to the insurance provider. This will reduce the chances of getting a minimum payout.

A lawyer can also represent you in court and protect your interests. This will increase the odds of a successful outcome.

Additional Tips

Do not post anything about the accident on social media. If insurance companies, especially the other driver’s provider, see this, they can use it against you in a legal case.

Also, beware of scammers. Ignore all calls from unsolicited medical providers, repair shops, and pretend lawyers.

Life After an Accident

Being in a car accident can make life challenging, but it does not mean you cannot move on eventually. By following these steps, you can protect your rights, receive fair compensation after an accident, and get back to living your life. 

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Posted - 04/12/2024