Coral Springs Auto Accident Lawyer Explains the Steps to Take After a Crash
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were a total of 341,399 car crashes in the state in 2020, a 15% decrease from 2019. Among these accidents, 92,263 were hit-and-run crashes. Despite the decrease, the numbers are still concerning because any motorist can be at risk of being involved in a crash. But what you do following an accident matters. Before contacting an auto accident lawyer, it would be best to familiarize yourself with the steps you need to take after an auto accident.
In this article, Coral Springs, FL car accident attorney Andrew Rosenberg explains what you need to do immediately after an auto accident.
Critical Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Coral Springs, FL
According to Florida Statute 316.062, you need to present your contact information to the other driver or law enforcement at the scene once you’re involved in a crash. If the police take too long to arrive at the scene and the other driver is too incapacitated to take your details, you need to self-report the accident to the nearest police precinct.
Below are the procedures to follow to ensure you’re in line with the law. Adhering to them also strengthens your auto accident claim and, overall, solidifies your case.
Stay at the scene
However much you’re in a hurry, don’t leave the scene, especially if you’ve sustained injuries. Besides, it’s a legal requirement, and dashing off the scene could lead to serious legal repercussions.
Call 911 and report the crash
Your next move should be to report the car accident. Therefore, dial 911 and inform the authorities of the incident. If you’re physically able, get the vehicle off the road and to the right shoulder. Obtaining an official police statement is critical. The police will conduct an independent investigation of the accident, essential for insurance settlement or auto accident claim. Once the police file the report, request a personal copy.
Check for injuries and get quick medical attention
The Florida Personal Injury Protection law requires every Floridian driver to have car insurance that covers injuries sustained after a crash. That applies to everyone, regardless of who’s at fault. Hence, seek prompt medical attention even if you’ve only sustained a bruise, strain, sprain, or other minor injuries. Nonetheless, you need to obtain copies of medical bills and receipts.
Document the scene thoroughly
Pull out your phone and capture any evidence by taking photos and videos of the scene. It will help your claim or insurance settlement if you get close-up images of any damage to your car and injuries. Additionally, document where each vehicle was driving to and from and the state of traffic at the time of the accident (was it free-flowing, congested, or rush hour, etc.?). Capture any skid marks or debris on the road and the weather conditions. All that information will help your auto accident lawyer secure your total settlement amount in a lawsuit.
Get the contact information of witnesses
As aforementioned, you’re required to give or collect contact information from the other driver, including license plate and personal information (name and address). Once you’ve done that, seek the contacts of the individuals who witnessed the collision. It might be other drivers, pedestrians, or passengers in either vehicle. Record their names, phone numbers, and addresses because witnesses can provide information about the circumstances that led to the accident.
Contact your insurance carrier
You also need to report the incident to your car insurance company, but be careful about the details you provide them. Insurance providers are often reluctant to reimburse settlements as it goes against their business model – to minimize settlement payout as much as possible to optimize their stakeholder’s investments. Usually, your insurance will record what you say and use any mistake against you, lowering your compensatory amount. That’s why it’s critical to hire an auto accident lawyer to provide legal counsel on communicating with your insurance carrier.
Keep in mind that Florida is one of the No-Fault states. That implies that you’ll first need to go to your insurance company for compensation. If the damages exceed your policy limit, the state has other legislation designed to make you whole.
Don’t sign any document from your insurance provider
Your insurance carrier will be quick to send a claims adjuster to approach you with an initial settlement offer they deem “fair” for your damages. Don’t sign the deal before consulting a car accident attorney. Signing the release means you’ll be unknowingly giving up your right to a full settlement fee.
Never admit fault
Accidents happen in an instance, and you may not know the facts about the incident. Hence, don’t be fast to admit fault. Remember, your words will be used against you in a lawsuit. So, let investigators evaluate the incident first and compile all the evidence. Afterward, let your personal injury lawyer handle the case.
Contact an auto accident attorney
There’s a lot to say (and not to say); documents to prepare, negotiate with your insurance company, doctor’s bills, and the list is endless. That’s why hiring a car accident attorney will tilt the situation in your favor. The lawyer can handle all those tasks and details professionally to make the strongest case on your behalf, so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us right away to schedule a free case consultation.