When you’re in a car accident in Florida, there are several important steps you should take, especially if you were injured. It’s also important to ensure that your legal rights are protected. In addition, taking the right steps can help restore your health after the accident and increase the chances that you’ll be fairly compensated.
If you’re involved in a car accident in Florida, it’s important to seek legal assistance right away. Hire a car accident lawyer based in Clearwater to review your case and take the necessary evidence before a judge or jury to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. Your attorney can also work with you to assist you in settling out of court and negotiate with insurance companies to receive a fair settlement from taking care of damages and injuries after an accident.
Here are some important things to remember, especially because the Sunshine State follows a no-fault law in motor vehicle crash cases.
At the Scene of the Accident
As soon as the accident occurs, you should:
Call 911 from the scene of the accident
Answer the dispatcher’s questions as best you can and try to stay calm. If possible, don’t move your car from the crash scene unless it is causing a major traffic jam. You should also tell the dispatch the vehicle’s exact location to ensure the paramedics and the police arrive at the scene fast.
Get contact information from the other drivers involved in the accident
Exchange auto insurance information with all involved drivers. Write down the drivers’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, and insurance companies and policy numbers. For accuracy, take a photo of the front and back of the insurance card.
However, don’t talk to anyone about the accident without your attorney present. Don’t apologize for the problem, don’t engage in small talk about the accident’s causes, don’t post an update with your situation on social media. If you can contact an attorney on the spot, do it. If you have to go to the hospital first or spend time answering the police questions, don’t tell anyone anything that they might use against you later – in a settlement negotiation, for example.
Obtain contact information from any witnesses at the scene of the wreck
You may not need to contact the witnesses directly, but your attorney may reach out to them to receive statements about the accident. Your car accident lawyer will most likely ask for the police report, depose witnesses, even hire an accident reconstruction specialist. Help your legal team solve your future issues by offering them a detailed contact list.
Take videos and photos of the accident
Make sure you photograph the scene in detail. Capture the car’s condition and the damage to any other vehicles involved in the accident. The evidence will be more than useful to your attorney during settlement talks or in front of a judge.
Get a copy of the police report
When you call 911, the police and paramedics will be called to the accident scene. The police should compose a report about the accident, so ask for a copy. If you cannot get a copy at the accident scene, you can request that one be sent to you.
When You Get Home
Once you leave the accident scene, there are still some additional steps to take pertaining to your accident. Make sure that you:
See a doctor, especially if you didn’t go to the hospital immediately after the collision. If you have chronic pain or cannot drive yourself to the hospital once you get home, you can call 911 or ask a friend or family member to take you to the doctor.
Keep up with your appointments. Once you receive your initial treatment, make sure you know when to attend your follow-up appointment. Ongoing medical care may be necessary for your injuries and could help your claim for compensation.
Create a file to keep all your evidence regarding the case. Document any communication you had with your insurance company and anyone else involved in the accident. Keep documentation of your doctors’ appointments as well.
It is also a good idea to keep a pain journal to show how the injuries from the accident have affected your daily life. Make sure that you keep up with your journal and update it often. Then, when you submit evidence about your case to your lawyer, your journal could help you receive a fair settlement, especially if the information correlates with your medical reports.
One of the most important things to do constantly as a driver is to educate yourself. When you have to file an insurance claim, you’ll need to remember all the information you can about the accident.
You’ll also need to know about insurance laws in Florida. If a claims adjuster contacts you about the accident, don’t admit fault or say anything that could be used against you in court. It’s best to have a lawyer represent you so that insurance companies won’t try to give you a settlement that is much less than what you deserve.
About the author: Crystal A. Davis
Crystal A. Davis was born into a family of attorneys and was raised with a strong sense of justice. During her high school years, she developed a passion for journalism and decided to combine this with her knowledge of the law. She realized that she could make her voice heard to the masses through legal journalism. Crystal is honored to follow and report on any legal case. She shares her analysis in reader-friendly articles. However, over the years, she has become a strong advocate for VA rights and made it her mission to help veterans seek justice.
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