In the state of Florida, over 50,000 car accidents occur each year. Fortunately, most of these accidents only involve property damage rather than damage to the people involved. Personal injury does still occur, in fact, 1 in 3 accidents involve bodily injury: of those statistics 2 in 10 lead to fatal injuries.
If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and your best interests:
Never leave the scene of a car accident; even when you suspect there isn’t any real damage. Doing so could increase your chances of criminal repercussions, especially if the accident caused bodily injury to the other party.
- Protect the Scene
Be mindful of other vehicles in the area. Make sure you turn your hazard lights on to notify oncoming traffic of the scene. Additionally, ensure you keep a flashlight in your vehicle to enhance safety measures while you wait for law enforcement or emergency personnel to arrive.
- Call the Police
You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company. Additionally, a report could be used as evidence if your claim ends up in front of a Florida court.
- Create an Accurate Record
As tempting as it may be, refrain from speaking to other parties involved in the accident before the police arrive. When a law enforcement official appears on the scene, make sure to explain your side of the events leading up to the accident in detail. If you aren’t clear on certain facts, tell the officer and never attempt to speculate on what could have happened.
- Take Pictures
If you are not seriously injured, make sure you take pictures of the scene of the accident. This includes: the position and state of the vehicles, the street the accident occurred on, and/or any injuries either party has incurred. If you are seriously injured, make sure someone close to you takes photographic evidence. Make sure this collection of evidence doesn’t interfere with the ongoing police investigation.
- Exchange Information
Typically, the investigating police officer obtains this information from both parties. However, if the officers do not respond to the scene, you should seek this information for your records. Make sure you get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties and witnesses involved in the accident. Additionally, you should always obtain the insurance information of the other driver involved in the accident.
- Report the Accident to Your Insurance Provider
Notify your insurance provider of the accident as soon as you can. Many policies require immediate action on your part as well as full cooperation. If you aren’t sure what your policy covers, you can request a ‘Proof of Coverage’ letter from your provider which will explain your complete benefits.
- Seek Medical Attention
Often, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent. A majority of our clients report feeling the most pain in the days following an automobile accident. Unless you are certain you did not sustain an injury, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room or with your family physician. Even accidents that involve minor impacts, you can sustain a severe or permanent injury. If you lost consciousness or you became dazed for a short period of time, you may have suffered a concussion or head injury that should be inspected ASAP. If left untreated, you may end up with cognitive and behavioral changes.
- Keep Your Records
Make sure you keep all accident-related documents safely in one place. Most of this information will likely be used in the discovery process of your claim. Records you should keep include:
- contact information of parties and witnesses involved;
- photographic evidence;
- insurance information of the other party;
- medical records;
- your claim number and adjuster’s name; and/or
- rental car receipts.
- Protect Your Rights
The most progressive action you can take is to understand and protect your rights. The best way to accomplish this is to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. An attorney can protect your rights and ensure any valuable evidence is not misplaced or destroyed. Often, insurance companies take statements immediately after an accident. However, you should try to refrain from providing an immediate statement until you are aware of any injuries. It is important you receive legal guidance before making any statements as your attorney can advise you on how to communicate with insurance companies as well as other important case matters.
Passionate Personal Injury Attorneys
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, this means there are no legal fees unless we recover compensation for your injuries. We will aggressively advocate for your rights and do everything we can to claim the compensation you deserve.Call our firm today at (352) 310-8169 or contact us online for a consultation.