Car accidents are stressful. Events seem to blur after an impact, and you may find yourself confused and uncertain. Although no one wants to be in one, you should know the steps to take after a car accident.
After the impact, you should try to get your car onto the shoulder or a nearby parking lot, if at all possible. This will make the roads safe for other drivers and will allow traffic to move forward.
If the cars are totaled or your experience any pain, don’t move more than you have to. Take a moment to gently and carefully stretch your body and slowly rotate your joints. If you experience any pain, stop moving and call 911. You should also call for emergency services if you or your passengers are bleeding.
If you’re well enough to get out of the car on your own, you need to check on the other driver.
Call for Help
Never drive away from a serious car accident without calling for help. Under Florida law, you must call the police if...
· Anyone was hurt in the accident
· The other driver is drunk or intoxicated
· Either car cannot leave the scene without a tow truck
· A driver fled the scene
If you drive away from a car accident without exchanging information, you have committed a hit-and-run. If you do not call for emergency services when someone is seriously hurt, you could face criminal charges.
If you called for emergency services, make an effort to speak to the other driver and exchange insurance information while you wait. While speaking to the other driver, choose your words very carefully. Never apologize for the crash, unless you’re willing to accept 100% of the blame.
Once you’ve exchanged insurance information, you need to collect evidence. This will help your attorney demonstrate that you were not responsible for the damages and will help you get fair compensation for the damage and your injuries.
Using your phone camera, get pictures of…
· Your car
· The other driver’s car
· The other driver’s license plate
· Damage to both vehicles
· Both vehicles together (if unmoved)
· The street and surroundings
You may also look around for nearby witnesses. See if you can convince witnesses to stick around until the police arrive. Their unbiased testimony could be invaluable in proving liability.
Also, identify any nearby security cameras. If these cameras spotted the accident, your attorney could petition to get the records and use them as evidence.
File a Report
When the police arrive, they will ask a few questions and request your proof of insurance. Answer truthfully but be mindful of your language. Anything you put in the police report could be used against you later.
Go to a Doctor
Once the report is filed, your next destination should be the doctor’s office. If you can’t go immediately after the crash, at least schedule an appointment. Going to the doctor immediately after a car accident tells the insurance companies that your injuries are serious, and you needed medical attention as a result of the crash.
Contact your Insurance Company
When everything else is taken care of, call your insurance company. Most policies require that you report an accident within 24 hours of a crash. At this time, just let your insurance company know about the accident.
If they ask for a recorded statement about the crash, refuse until you have spoken to an attorney. Insurance adjusters often use tricky language and phrasing that can cause you to inadvertently say you were somewhat liable for the accident, even if you did nothing wrong.
Speak to an Attorney
After informing your insurance company, find an experienced auto injury attorney. Car accident victims who hire an attorney almost always recover greater compensation than those who allow their insurance company to handle the settlement.
If you suffered serious injuries in a car accident, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Miami auto injury attorney from Julian Rudolph Law, please send us an email or call (305) 300-2702.