No matter how responsible a driver you think you are, you’ll likely be involved in an auto accident at some point in your lifetime. And if you’re a Floridian, these chances are even higher. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are over 1,000 car accidents in Florida every day, ranking Florida amongst the most dangerous states for drivers in the county. Moreover, the FLHSMV estimates that approximately 40% of all car accidents in Florida result in injuries. Therefore, we as Floridians must understand what steps to take after a car accident to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Below are five steps the personal injury lawyers at Eastmoore, Crauwels, & DuBose, P.A. recommend you follow after being involved in a car accident in Florida.
- Stay at the Scene & Report the Accident
Stay calm and remain at the scene after the accident. Leaving the scene of a car accident prematurely is referred to as a hit-and-run. It might result in criminal felony charges if the accident resulted in injury or death to another.
It is important that you call law enforcement after the accident. Reporting the accident to law enforcement will create a record of the crash that may help any potential claim you have later.
- Check for Injuries and Seek Medical Treatment
You should check yourself and other passengers in your vehicle for injuries and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Oftentimes, car accident victims are left in an initial state of shock, adrenaline pumping from the accident just moments prior. This may delay the symptoms of some injuries until more time passes from the accident. According to the National Institutes of Health, car accident injury symptoms frequently arise up to five weeks after a crash.
However, Florida law requires that you report your injuries within two weeks of the accident to receive compensation from your Personal Injury Protection policy. So regardless of whether you think your injuries are minor, make sure you are evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
- Exchange Contact Information with the Other Driver
Exchange all relevant contact information with the other driver after an accident, including phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information. You will need this information to recover any damages caused by the accident. Importantly, do not apologize to the other driver or make any statements accepting liability for the accident during this process. Your comments at the scene could be used against you to undermine your claim.
- Take Pictures and Seek Contact Information from Witnesses
Take pictures and talk to witnesses. Photographs are one of the best forms of evidence in accident claims. Photos can preserve important details and provide invaluable evidence of negligence that may help your case later.
Just as photographs can provide invaluable evidence for your claim, so can witnesses. For example, if bystanders saw the car accident their statements and recollection of what happened in the crash could serve as critical evidence in your case. Therefore, you should try to gather contact information of witnesses when possible.
- Call an Attorney
Accidents can be life changing and the aftermath maybe hectic. ECD’s personal injury attorneys are experienced in effectively dealing with issues that can be frustrating and overwhelming when you have sustained injuries in a car accident. Please call the lawyers at Eastmoore, Crauwels & DuBose, P.A. for a free consultation.