With the holidays just around the corner, millions of us will be on the road to visit friends and family. While I hope no one reading this has the horrible experience of being involved in a car accident, I still want to pass along some advice about what to do if it should happen.
Immediately following a car accident, it is normal to feel disoriented, dazed and even angry. Those are normal reactions to a traumatic event. But it is important to try to keep yourself together and calm as much as possible and keep the following points in mind:
Above All, Be Safe – Make sure you and everyone else in the car is not injured. If anyone involved in the accident is injured at all, call 911 to request medical care and for a police officer to come to the scene. Also, make sure your vehicle is not at risk of being hit by other traffic.
Get Information - Make sure you have the name, address and phone number of the other driver as well as their driver’s license number. Also write down the name and address of their insurance company along with the policy number. Write down the tag information of each vehicle involved in the accident. Also, you should get the name and contact information of any witnesses who are present.
Document the Scene – I recommend keeping a disposable camera in the car, if your cellular phone does not take photographs. If it is safe for you to do so, take photographs of the accident scene. You should also take photographs of any damage the vehicles sustained, or any other property damage caused by the collision. If you develop any visible injuries following an accident, you should document those with a camera too.
File a police report – In Florida, unless someone is significantly injured at the scene of an accident, a police officer will typically only do an exchange of information form. However, you still have the right to fill out an accident report documenting exactly how the accident happened and who was at fault.
Get Medical Care – If you have any injuries, aches or pains, be sure to seek medical care from a doctor of your choosing as soon as possible. It is important to keep in mind that a minor ache or pain could quickly develop into a more serious condition without proper medical attention. Also, an insurance company could question whether your injuries and complaints were caused by the accident if you waited too long to get medical care.
Report the Accident to your insurance company. You have a duty to notify your insurance company that you were involved in an accident. If you were not at fault, this will typically not affect your rates. You should not sign anything, though, or submit to a recorded statement without first talking to one of our lawyers.
Come See Us – Come talk to our personal injury lawyers to determine your rights. Although you should report the accident to your insurance company, you should not give a recorded statement or sign any documents without speaking to a lawyer. Our law firm has knowledgeable, dedicated and aggressive attorneys willing to sit down and discuss your case with you for free. You don’t have to figure everything out on your own – we can help.