Car accidents happen. More often than not, you don’t get advance warning when they occur. When a car accident does happen, it’s important to be prepared to immediately protect your health and your rights.
Step 1: Stop
Even if the accident appears to be minor, to protect yourself, stop and do not leave the scene of the accident. Make sure all parties are OK. Call 911 if emergency assistance is required. If you can safely move the vehicles, move them to the side of the road or the shoulder. Otherwise, turn on your hazard lights and wait for emergency services.
Step 2: Remain calm
An important thing to remember is to not panic. Remaining calm makes it easier to think straight. It can help diffuse any potential conflict with the other driver or drivers. Remember to breathe. Sometimes, calling a spouse or someone close to you can help you to remain calm.
Step 3: Report the car accident
If you haven’t reported the accident already, do so. Florida state law requires you to report an accident immediately to the authorities if any of the following occurs: (1) death or injury, (2) a hit and run incident, (3) an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, or (4) an accident that results in property damage of over $500. You are also required to file a car crash report in Florida with the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of the incident.
Even if your accident doesn’t meet the above criteria, it is still recommended that you contact law enforcement to create an official record of the incident. Your insurance company may ask for a police report when you file a claim.
Step 4: Gather information
Make sure to get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. If there are witnesses to the accident, make sure to get their information as well. In addition to bystanders, passengers for either vehicle are all potential witnesses to the accident. Make sure to also get the information (e.g. the officer’s name, badge number, phone number, police report number) for the responding law enforcement officer.
Step 5: Take Photos & Videos
Use your cell phone camera to take photos and videos of the scene of the accident, the vehicles, and any injuries. Capture license plates for all vehicles involved. If you can do so safely, take pictures and videos of the vehicles before you move them. Get photos of all driver’s licenses and insurance cards to ensure you have a record of every party involved in the accident. Was there damage to the vehicle? Document the damage with photos.
Step 6: Seek Medical Treatment
If you are injured in the accident, dial 911 and wait for emergency services to arrive. The paramedics will examine you and determine whether your injuries can be treated on the scene or if you require transport to a hospital. If treated at the scene, follow-up with a doctor and/or specialist that specifically treats auto accident injuries. Florida law requires you to seek treatment for the car accident within 14-days. If you do not have a doctor or know who to go to, your attorney should know the doctors in your area that handle auto accident injuries. Speaking of your attorney…
Step 7: Seek Legal Representation
A car accident attorney specializes and only focuses on representing you and making sure every step you take is for your benefit. They are your personal advocate. Your attorney makes sure you have access to the proper care and treatment for your injuries. Your lawyer will also negotiate with the insurance companies to ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries and damages to your vehicle. Insurance companies are not your friend and will often begin building a case against you as soon as a claim has been filed.
Discussing your accident and injury with an attorney allows a professional to review your case and offer free advice. If you are hurt, an attorney can help you take the proper steps to treat your injuries as well as ensure you are protected throughout the process.
New Port Richey Car Accident Attorneys
Our skilled Auto Accident Attorneys at The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine put the personal back in injury law. They are there for you every step of the way after your accident. With locations in New Port Richey, Clearwater, Spring Hill, Wesley Chapel, and Inverness, our team can help coordinate the medical care and transportation you need while you try to get back to living your regular life. We will fight for the best financial recovery possible for your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation!