10 Steps to Take After a Florida Accident
After an automobile accident, we dispatch investigators to photograph and document the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident as well as the accident scene. Review the steps below and be sure to follow them as closely as possible following your vehicle accident in Florida.
1. Call 911 immediately after an accident.
Request police and emergency medical assistance if it is necessary. The police will help to guide you through the accident process.
2. Take photographs.
If possible, use your cell phone to photograph all the vehicles involved in the automobile accident before they are moved. Take as many photographs as possible from several angles. It is important to document the condition of your vehicle before it is repaired. Try to take photographs of any visibly damaged areas. Photographs of broken glass, blood stains, deployed air bags, or damaged personal property can be priceless for a future claim. These photographs help to personalize the accident and allows an outside observer to see how frightening and traumatic the experience was to the parties involved.
Be sure to photograph any visible injuries. Document all of your injuries resulting from the collision. This includes any bruises from seatbelts, burn marks from deployed airbags, and cuts and scrapes from broken glass. As with photographs of the accident scene, these photographs help to document the dynamics of the crash, the traumatic injuries to your body, and provide indisputable evidence of the severity of the impact.
3. Gather as much information as possible about the other driver and any witnesses.
Record the driver’s license plate number, their name, phone number, address, insurance provider and policy number, and any other relevant information about the driver. Try to obtain this information from any passengers in the vehicle as well. If anyone witnessed the collision be sure to obtain their relevant contact information. Ask them what they saw and document their answers. The aftermath of a motor vehicle collision is generally chaotic, but all of this information will improve a claim you bring in the future.
4. Cooperate with the police.
Once the police arrive they will question all the parties involved in the accident and any witnesses that are available. Report all of your injuries to the police. Even if your injuries seem insignificant at the time, don’t try to “tough it out,” make sure they are documented in case they worsen over the next few days or weeks. Failing to document your injuries to the police may later be used against you by the insurance company. Be sure your injuries are recorded in the officer’s investigative report.
5. Do not admit fault or partial responsibility for the accident.
It can be difficult to think clearly or accurately recall all the facts surrounding an accident immediately after the collision. Don’t ever admit fault. Hire an experienced attorney to help you deal with the aftermath of an automobile accident.
6. Get a copy of the driver exchange of information, police report, or police report number.
Once the police complete their initial investigation at the scene of the accident they will complete either a “Driver Exchange of Information” or a “Long Form Police Report.” These documents are very important to your claim. In some instances, the police may only provide the parties with a business card on which the officer has written the police report number.
7. Get medical attention.
If emergency medical services came to the scene be sure to get medical attention at the scene of the accident. Often, they will ask if you need to go to the emergency room. It is always a good idea to be further evaluated at the hospital. You may have suffered internal injuries or a traumatic head injury that requires prompt medical attention. A visit to the emergency room will provide you with the diagnostic testing necessary to ensure your safety. Be sure to inform the hospital you are there as the result of an automobile accident, and provide them with your insurance policy so they bill the appropriate party.
8. Contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney.
An attorney can help you navigate the sea of issues following an automobile accident. The dedicated Florida auto accident attorneys at The Trial Professionals P.A can be reached at 800-874-2577 around-the-clock, 24/7. We can help protect your rights and ensure you receive the full value of your claim during this stressful situation.
We can also refer you to a doctor for treatment if you do not have one already. Our attorneys can meet you at a doctor’s appointment or at your house to discuss your claim, sign you up, and begin working on your claim. Once you hire a lawyer, the insurance company is no longer permitted to contact you and will contact your lawyer to discuss your claim. An attorney can help make this stressful process easier, and allows you to focus on your recovery.
9. Report the accident to YOUR insurance company.
It is important to report an automobile accident to your personal automobile insurance company so they can open your claim. Do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. It is not a problem, however, to speak with them regarding property damage to make sure your vehicle is repaired as quickly as possible. The insurance adjustor for the other party will need to contact you to set up a time for one of their employees to look at your vehicle and appraise the damage. Your insurance company will also need to contact you to set up a personal injury protection claim.
10. Do not speak with the other side’s insurance company about your injuries.
Speaking to the other side’s insurance company could diminish the value of your claim. Despite what an insurance adjustor might tell you, you are under no obligation to give a statement or answer questions regarding your injuries. An attorney can help determine if it is necessary to give the other side a recorded statement. You should always contact an attorney before you answer any questions regarding the injuries you sustained and before you sign any paperwork from the other side’s insurance company.
Contact personal injury specialists at The Trial Professionals P.A. for a free consultation.