Did you know that over 15 million licensed drivers live in Florida alone? With the sheer volume of licensed Florida drivers, there’s bound to be many accidents in the beautiful Sunshine State. In fact, in 2017 alone, Florida had around 388,032 road crashes. Therefore, it is vital to know what you need to do after a car accident.
Florida has a no-fault law, which means that each car insurance policyholder must carry $10,000 in personal injury protection. This policy pays medical expenses incurred by the insured regardless of fault for the accident.
However, it can be tricky getting the amount owed to you from the insurance companies. This is why you need a qualified Florida personal injury lawyer who focuses on car accidents. For example, Shiner Law Group is based in West Palm Beach, Florida, with additional offices in Boca Raton, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Ft. Lauderdale, Belle Glade, and Port St. Lucie.
Here are the steps you need to take before seeking legal counsel.
1. Dial 911
When you are in a car accident, you will feel significant shock. This feeling may make you a little numb, so you may not notice your injuries at first. You may have broken bones, but due to the shock you may not feel pain at all.
Straight away, call 911. Unless your car accident blocks traffic, don’t move your car from the crash site. If you can, let the 911 operator know the exact location of your crash or at least provide them with markers and landmarks. The sooner you provide all of the details, the sooner the paramedics and police can get to you and help you.
2. File an accident report with the police
In a hit-and-run or a bad crash causing personal or property damage of $500 or more, you will need to call the police and file an accident report. The sensors and other expensive features built into modern cars mean that even fender-benders could exceed that amount, so always call the police.
If you called 911, the operators may already have notified the police.
3. Create a detailed account of the accident
While you wait for the police to arrive, try to create a detailed account of the accident. For example, try to remember and write down the direction you and the other driver came from.
Some questions to ask yourself include:
- What color was the traffic light?
- Did the other driver swerve?
- Was the other driver speeding?
- Did you think the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
- Was the driver on their mobile phone?
- Did the driver swerve to miss an animal?
In a hit-and-run, list every detail you can remember about the other vehicle. The most crucial things to remember are the year, model, make, color, and plate number. Even details such as dents or stickers can help your case more than you think.
If the other driver remains at the accident scene with you, exchange insurance and vehicle details with them. Then, write down the model, make, license plate number, year, and vehicle ID number of the other driver.
4. Gather evidence and accounts
If you can, take clear videos and photos at different angles of the vehicles involved. All of this evidence can help identify the weather conditions and any possible road obstructions. Make sure you photograph and video street and traffic signs for evidence.
If possible, record your videos with sound, as this can help provide clues. For instance, if either person has slurred speech, it could signify that they’re under the influence. You may even catch the driver admitting fault. If you have witnesses nearby, you can ask if you could record them recounting what they saw.
5. Seek medical attention
If your injuries aren’t so severe and you weren’t rushed to the hospital, head to the closest emergency center or your doctor to evaluate your injuries. Put your health first before moving onto the next steps.
6. Contact your insurance company
After you are out of danger and a doctor has checked you over, contact your insurance company. Your insurance company will review your claim to determine the extent of the damage and fault for the crash. You may actually want to skip ahead to the next step and call a lawyer to handle communications with your own lawyer for you.
7. Enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer
Filing a car accident claim in Florida is rarely straightforward and often filled with difficulties. If you don’t get help, you could end up with a less-than-ideal payout. This is especially common when the negligence of the other driver has caused the accident.
That is why you should hire a personal injury attorney. If you are in a car crash, especially if you aren’t at fault, an attorney can help you in many ways. The Florida car accident attorneys at ShinerLawGroup.com offer a free case evaluation and do not take a dime unless they win your case. By choosing a reputable personal injury law firm, you’ll give yourself the best chance of winning compensation that can help with any medical bills that your accident caused.
When unfortunate circumstances, like a car accident, happens, always seek help from a doctor first, then call a lawyer for help pursuing compensation.
Jeremy Biberdorf is a long-time internet marketing pro turned online entrepreneur and blogger. Check out his investing blog at Modest Money.
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