If you’re involved in a car accident involving injuries or property damage, there are certain steps for you to follow to ensure you have the best chance at recovering the compensation you deserve. Taking the proper steps following an auto accident will allow you to avoid some common problems many people run into, such as dealing with the hassle of claims adjusters.
Safety is Most Important
If no parties are severely injured and you are in an unsafe location, such as the middle of the road, it’s best to move off the road to a secure location. If you are unable to move your vehicle, stay where you are. Be sure to turn on your hazard lights so that you are visible to other drivers—as the last thing you want is to cause additional accidents.
Only move your vehicle if it presents an immediate hazard to oncoming traffic, otherwise, remain in the same position until local police arrive.
One of the first steps for any car accident is to check for injuries. You will want to be sure to check yourself and any passengers, as well as other parties involved—if you’re well enough to do so. If anyone needs medical assistance, be sure to call for help immediately—as waiting too long may cause additional injuries. In addition to making sure injuries aren’t further complicated, calling for medical assistance will also prove as valuable information to use for your claim.
Contact Local Police
In many accidents, there are no witnesses around and there may be different versions of how the accident took place. If you don’t call for local police, you may hurt your chances at receiving the compensation you deserve—and in some cases, you may even be seen as the liable party.
Calling the police will ensure that all drivers involved provide a written statement of the accident before there is time to change their story in their favor. Once the police arrive, they will also write a report which will prove to be invaluable evidence for your future claim. Be sure to inform the officer of any injuries sustained, as this will be the first record of your injuries (unless you were immediately taken to seek medical assistance).
Failing to report your injury immediately may raise suspicion in the mind of the future claim adjuster that you were not hurt, and are only looking for compensation. Often, the officer will ask you about your injuries. During this time, be sure to answer “yes” to any questions about your symptoms, even if you believe the injury to be minor— it’s very common for injuries to take time to develop fully and you want to be sure you receive all the compensation you deserve. A slight bump on the head or a momentary loss of consciousness could be a precursor to a serious head injury that you will want to document right after the accident. In the event that you are experiencing severe pain, be sure to inform the officer that medical assistance needs to be called.
After taking the crucial steps of ensuring your accident is properly documented and all your injuries are identified and tended to, it is important for you to take down the information of the parties involved. Be sure to get the following information from the other driver(s):
- Driver’s License
- Phone #
- License plate number
- Insurance policy #
You also want to be sure to get the contact information of any witnesses involved, including:
- Phone #
Having the information of witnesses will help build a strong case, and will act as a fail-safe in the event that the defendant tries to change their story in court.
In addition to gathering everyone’s information, it’s a good idea to take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to include:
- Images of any damage (to property and injuries)
- Images of the accident scene
- Any skid marks or broken street structures (light poles, stop signs, etc.)
Inform Your Insurance Company
While it is important to notify your insurance provider of your accident, remember that anything you say may be used against you. Before accepting an offer or disclosing too many details, you should have a consultation with a qualified Florida personal injury attorney, like those at Harmon Parker, to discuss your plan and approach to the claim.
Don’t speak with the other driver’s insurance company and NEVER sign any legal documents before speaking with a qualified attorney.
Schedule a Meeting With a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
When your livelihood is on the line, it is important to trust in those who have the compassion and knowledge to fight for what you need and deserve. Working with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in dealing with auto accidents will allow you to pursue the maximum compensation for your case.
The team of Florida car accident attorneys at Harmon Parker have been helping our clients recover compensation for their injuries for many years. We have successfully won many multi-million dollar cases and have an aggressive approach to help make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait to begin recovering. Call us today at (813) 452-4144 to schedule your free case evaluation.