Getting in a car accident is never a fun experience. They always happen so quickly and they are incredibly disorienting. That’s why it is so important to understand what steps you should take following a car accident in Florida. By being prepared for such an event you can ensure that you don’t make costly mistakes following your accident.
There is a lot that you should do after a car accident. To make it easier on you, we’ve divided up what you should do based on time. This way you can make sure that you know exactly what to do at the scene of the accident, once you leave the scene of the accident and in the days and weeks that follow your car accident.
What Should I Do Before I Leave the Scene of the Accident?
The first and foremost thing that you should do when you are in an accident is call 9-1-1 and report the accident. Let them know if you need medical attention and seek medical treatment when it arrives.
If the accident happens in such a way as to not be blocking traffic, that’s great. If you are blocking traffic and your vehicle can still move then take out your phone, snap a bunch of photos of the accident if it’s safe to do so and then move to safety.
It’s important to get as many photos of the accident as possible. Document everything. Get close-ups of the damage, get close-ups of any injuries that were sustained. If you have a chance, it can be a good idea to write down notes on what happened but it’s okay to get to this step later as there will be a lot going on at the accident scene.
Exchange information with any one else involved in the accident and make sure to speak to any nearby witnesses. Ask if you can contact them later to get their account of the accident via phone or email.
While this is happening, make sure you don’t admit fault. Admitting fault can come back to haunt you later when you seek insurance claims.
What Should I Do Once I Leave the Scene of the Accident?
Upon leaving the scene of the accident seek any additional medical attention you may need. It doesn’t help you to ignore your injuries and make things worse. However, seeking proper treatment can provide you with documentation of your injuries which can help you later on when you put in your insurance claim.
The next step is to continue documenting everything. Sit down and write out everything that happened to the best of your memory. Even if some details don’t seem important to the accident itself, write them down anyway. You can always edit this document and remove any unnecessary details later but writing down everything that you remember can help to jog your memory of what happened.
Reach out to any eyewitnesses whose contact information you received. Ask them to write down and email you the events they witnessed. These accounts will be useful in corroborating your story when you go to talk to your insurance company.
At this point you may want to consider contacting your insurance company and letting them know that an accident occured. However, it’s incredibly important that you be careful with what you say. You don’t want to ever admit fault, for example. This is because anything you say can be used against you to minimize the amount of damages the insurance company pays out. After all, their business model is to pay out as little as they possibly can.
What Should I Do in the Days and Weeks After an Accident?
At this point you will mostly be taking care of finishing up earlier steps. For example, any additional medical treatment that is necessary should be your top priority.
Reach out to any eyewitness that hasn’t gotten back to you yet and see if they can agree to a near date upon which to get you their copy of events.
If you already reported the accident to your insurance company then you shouldn’t be surprised that they come back with a quick offer. The insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible and so they will make a low offer quickly in the hopes that you’ll accept it because you just want to move on. Don’t accept any offer until you’ve spoken with a qualified attorney.
Which brings us to an important point: Get a qualified attorney as quickly as possible. It can be beneficial to speak to a car accident attorney prior to speaking to your insurance company as they can advise you on what types of things you should avoid mentioning or saying.
Remember, too, that Florida is a No-Fault state and so it will be up to your insurance company to pay for damages first and foremost regardless of who caused the accident. If the amount of damages you are seeking exceeds their ability to pay then there are other avenues available to seek compensation but if you accept a low-ball offer before speaking with an attorney then you are going to be locked into that agreement.
Where Can I Get a Great Car Accident Attorney?
If you have recently been in a car accident then it’s always a smart move to seek out an attorney prior to speaking to your insurance company. We here at Vukelja & dePaula have made it our business to help injured people like yourself seek the damages they deserve after their accident.
Give us a call at (386) 217-1338 to set up a consultation. Our attorneys will look over your case, guide you through the steps you have to take to get the compensation you deserve and fight by your side every step of the way. So if you’ve been in a car accident, act today by reaching out to Vukelja & dePaula as soon as you’re able.