Steps You Must Take After a Car Crash in Florida
Being in a car accident can be a frightening and chaotic experience. Once the initial shock wears off, you’re faced with uncertainty about what to do next. This straightforward guide breaks down the six essential steps to take after a car crash in Florida.
As you follow these actions, keep in mind that an experienced car accident attorney should be consulted as soon as reasonably possible. Legal guidance early on can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
Step 1: Assess and Document the Scene
Before anything else, ensure that all parties involved in the collision are safe. Providing first aid takes top priority.
Once everyone’s immediate health needs are addressed, thoroughly document details of the scene with photographs:
Take wide shots of all vehicles, capturing license plates when possible
Get close-up images showing damage to each car
Note the make, model, color and any unique identifiers of vehicles
Jot down names and contact information from witnesses
Write down the exact time, date and location details
Mundane as this step may seem, this information gives your car accident attorney essential evidence when building your injury claim later.
Step 2: Notify Law Enforcement
Contact the local police department or highway patrol to report any car accident in Florida resulting in:
Significant property damage
Under Florida Statute 316.066, leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries without providing your identification can result in fines or criminal charges.
Besides meeting legal obligations, having law enforcement respond to the crash site also:
Provides an official account of events through a police report
Gives an objective perspective on how the accident occurred from a third party
Both benefits can bolster your car accident case down the road.
Step 3: Get Medical Attention
Seeking prompt medical care should become your top concern after notifying authorities, even if your injuries seem minor at first.
Trauma from car accidents can conceal underlying issues only detectable through an exam by a licensed medical professional. Without documentation of all health impacts tied to the crash, you may struggle receiving rightful compensation for them later.
Other reasons to get evaluated by a doctor right away include:
Creating a record of evidence for your potential injury claim
Identifying appropriate treatment plans for best possible recovery
Avoiding denial of insurance coverage for untreated problems
In addition to your own medical needs, offer assistance to other motorists involved and alert first responders about anyone requiring urgent care.
Step 4: Consult a Car Accident Attorney
The single most critical action you can take after following the previous steps is to promptly consult a car accident attorney experienced in car accidents. Here’s why:
An Experienced Legal Guide
Maneuvering through Florida’s complex personal injury laws and insurance company tactics requires a professional by your side. Car accident attorneys understand the intricacies and time sensitivities involved in building strong cases.
They know what evidence to collect, how to accurately value damages, and strategies for obtaining maximum compensation. Their knowledge relieves stress so you can focus energy toward healing.
An Advocate Protecting Your Interests
Insurance carriers aim to minimize payouts whenever possible. As their customer, car accident victims are often pressured to provide recorded statements or accept fast yet inadequate settlements.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer prevents you from falling prey to tactics compromising rightful compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Instead of facing claim denials and endless negotiations alone, have a fierce advocate by your side.
Step 5: Contact Your Insurance Provider
At this point, you’ve addressed immediate health and safety issues, secured documentation, and notified authorities. The dust is beginning to settle from the chaotic events right after impact.
Now it’s time to inform your car insurance provider about the accident. Give them fundamental details like:
Date, time and location
Parties involved (not admitting fault)
Nature of damages and injuries
Avoid providing any formal statements about the accident until first speaking with your car accident attorney. Anything you state on record to your insurance company before obtaining legal counsel could negatively impact negotiations later.
Step 6: Maintain Meticulous Records
The days, weeks and months following your car accident require attention to detail as your case unfolds:
Save all medical bills, reports and treatment plans
Keep a log of missed wages from work and other income losses
Hold onto receipts for property repairs, rental cars and ride shares
Document expenses related to post-crash care like medications, assistive devices or home modifications
Thorough documentation helps your car accident attorney accurately calculate losses for negotiating fair settlement offers. So stay vigilant about keeping comprehensive records long after the initial incident.
Again, a car accident attorney assists immensely here by determining what evidence holds weight for building your claim. Allow them to handle the heavy lifting while you focus on healing.
Recap: 6 Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Florida
During stressful times, having a clear game plan provides comfort. Here are those six key steps once more:
Assess and document details at the scene
Contact law enforcement to file a report
Seek prompt medical evaluation
Consult an experienced car accident attorney
Notify your insurance provider
Maintain thorough records related to the incident
Frequently Asked Questions
Confusion frequently accompanies stressful situations. Gain clarity on some common questions that arise after car collisions below.
1. What Information Should I Share With My Insurance Company?
Keep discussions with insurers strictly factual before consulting legal counsel. Provide basics like the time, date and location alongside vehicle and party details. Avoid speculating on blame or making unnecessary recorded remarks. Allow your attorney to handle the primary negotiations.
2. Why Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
Attempting to value damages accurately or handle insurance tactics alone often leads to inadequate compensation or denied claims. An attorney’s experience with Florida’s injury laws and documenting evidence properly leads to much higher settlement offers. They also reduce headaches so you focus on what matters most – your recovery.
3. When Should I Call a Car Accident Lawyer?
Ideally, consult with qualified legal help within days of your accident before evidence disappears. Early involvement allows attorneys to build strong arguments on your behalf that insurance carriers cannot refute easily during negotiations.
4. Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney If I’m Not At-Fault?
Absolutely. Even if obviously another motorist caused the collision, having skilled legal representation ensures protection against counter accusations. It also guarantees proper liability assessment so negligent parties pay their due share.
5. Could Discussing My Injuries Hurt My Case?
Potentially yes. Voicing details carelessly of your health conditions before settling could come back to haunt negotiations. It’s best to remain mindfully tight-lipped publicly. Allow your experienced attorney spotlight injuries when strategically appropriate during settlement talks.
Move Through the Aftermath with a Car Accident Attorney
Arm yourself with this knowledge before an accident ever occurs. Implement the steps without hesitation if you suddenly find yourself injured in a Florida car crash someday.
A car accident attorney minimizes guesswork throughout the claims process so you recover with peace of mind. Consider keeping a car accident law firm’s number saved in your phone for quick access when needed.
Knowledge relieves uncertainty. Now instead of asking “What do I do following a car accident?”, tell yourself “I’ve got this” because you have a plan.