What to Do After a Serious Car Accident
There are approximately 6 million car accidents that happen in the United States every year. Luckily, most of them only involve damage to property as opposed to the occupants themselves. However, about 30% of these accidents involve injuries to the driver and passengers; and out of the 30%, about 20% lead to fatal injuries.
If you are involved in a car accident, there are things that you need to do in order to protect yourself, as well as interests.
Things to Do in a Car Accident
- Stop. Car accident lawyers Tampa Florida would advise you to not drive away from the scene, even if it is only a minor one.
- Scene Protection. Protect the scene by preventing further accidents through setting up of flares or keeping the flashers on your car on. If it is already dark but your lights won’t work, you should use a flashlight to ensure your safety while you are waiting in your car or by the roadside.
- Call the Police for Help. Even if there aren’t any serious injuries, a South Florida car accident lawyer would still recommend for you to call the police. Note that in any kind of accident, you will need a police report as it is a requirement when filing a claim from your insurance company. It is vital that the vehicles involved in the accident should stay where they are, unless they are interfering with traffic.
- Make Accurate Records. As soon as the police arrive, you need to ensure that you tell the police investigators what exactly happened to the best of your abilities. If there are some facts you don’t know, you need to disclose that to the officer. There should be no statements that are based on speculations, guesses, or any misstatement of facts. Personal injury attorney Orlando says if you are asked if you are injured and you aren’t sure, you should tell that to the police instead of saying “no”. More often than not, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents become noticeable several hours after the accident. Aside from that, you should also ensure that the statements made by other parties involved are accurate also.
- Take Photos. If you have a camera handy or a cellphone with a built-in camera, take photos of the vehicles if there are visible damages. Visible injuries should also be photographed as well. However, note that you shouldn’t, in any way or another, interfere with an ongoing police investigation. If you can’t take photos at the scene of the accident, you may take them as soon as possible after the accident.
- Exchange of Information. Normally, the police officer investigating the accident obtains this information. But, if the police doesn’t respond to the accident, then you should never forget to get the name, address, and contact numbers of all the people involved in the accident; both drivers and passengers. It is also important for you to ask information about the insurance of all the vehicles involved by seeing their insurance cards. If there are witnesses around, you also might want to get information from them so that your personal injury attorney Tampa FL will contact them in the future. However, if the police respond to the accident, the investigating officer will usually give a police report number to all parties. This number can be used later to obtain the police report if needed. Note that if the accident happened on a state highway, you should request for the report from the state police.
- Notify your Insurance Company. If you want to file a Florida personal injury claim, you should notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Note that most policies would require you to file immediate reports and full cooperation. Find out whether you have medical benefits; note, that some may require you to pay additional fees for “medpay”. If you have such coverage, you need to submit accident-related hospital bills to your insurance company as they will be reimbursing the total amount that you’ve spent for medical purposes.
- Seek Medical Attention. As mentioned above, injuries from vehicular accidents often do not show up immediately; it may take hours to a day. As a matter of fact, some may feel the most pain after a day or two from the actual accident. Unless you are very sure that you weren’t injured, it is advisable for you to seek medical attention to the nearest ER in the area or be seen by your physician. Even if the accident is only minor, you may sustain serious injuries to your spinal column. If you have lost consciousness during the accident for a short period of time after the collision, you might have a concussion or a close head injury which can cause cognitive and behavioral changes should it be left untreated.
- Keep a File of the Accident. Although it is not a good memory, accident-related files and information should be kept. The information that it is important for you to keep includes the insurance claim number, the adjuster that was handling your claim, the personal information of all contacts, as well as the receipts for car rentals and other expenses that you’ve incurred from the accident.
- Protect your Rights. The most important thing that you should do following an accident is to consult the best accident attorney Orlando. Having an attorney that you can trust will help you protect your rights and will make sure that valuable evidences for your case aren’t destroyed. More often than not, insurance companies would want to get statements right after the accident. However, you should know that it is essential for you to have received legal advice from your lawyer first before you provide any statement to them. Your attorney will give you advises on issues such as how to ensure that you will be fully compensated for your damaged vehicle and how to ensure that you will get the best medical treatment possible. Note that personal injury attorneys will work based on contingency fees, meaning there will be no legal fees unless they will get compensation for your injuries.