Car accidents may take only a fraction of a second to occur, but in the aftermath, it’s easy to feel confused about what you need to do next. If you’re in a car accident, it is best to follow these steps to protect yourself and your legal rights.
In Florida, you may not need to call the police for a minor fender bender, but you will for any accident that involves major property damage, injuries, or fatalities. Calling 911 will have police and emergency medical services dispatched to the scene to treat any injuries. The police will create a report, which will serve as important documentation about the accident and who caused it.
Exchange of Information
You are obligated to stop and exchange information after any accident, even a minor one. This includes your name and auto insurance information. If the other driver refuses to provide their contact and insurance information, tell the officer on the scene. This information will be needed for their accident report.
Notify Your Insurance
Florida uses a no-fault insurance model, which means you’ll go through your insurer for your claim. If there are major injuries involved, the other driver may try to make a claim on your insurance. You must call your insurer to let them know what happened, even if you were not at fault and are not planning to file a claim.
You may also get a call from the other driver’s insurer. While you are obligated to contact your auto insurer, you do not need to speak to the other driver’s insurance agent.
Seek Treatment for Your Injuries
If you are seriously injured, emergency medical services will transport you to the hospital. However, don’t avoid a full medical examination if you aren’t visibly injured. Many injuries are not obvious on the surface, and they could become life-threatening without treatment.
If you are capable, take photos and videos of the accident scene, particularly how the cars are positioned on the road. The pictures can be used to support your claim.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer Immediately
Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws may mean that the other party will try to pin some or all of the blame on you. This isn’t something you should try to handle on your own.
Most car accident victims are unaware of all the damages they can seek following an accident. The insurance company might make you a settlement offer, which would seem to end your troubles. However, it likely won’t be enough to cover the cost of your ongoing medical treatments and other expenses that resulted from the accident.
You should not have to go into debt paying for your medical treatments or because you can’t work because someone else injured you. A personal injury lawyer will know how to calculate the full extent of your damages. They will also know how to gather evidence and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf.