What you do after an auto accident in Florida can affect your chances of recovery
An accident can occur to anyone at any time, usually when least expected. It can place the victim and their family in significant financial strain. It is important for you to know your rights and obligations under Florida law, as well as have an understanding of what to do if you find yourself in that situation in order to protect your right to fair compensation. After an accident:
Contact 911 – get necessary police and emergency medical personnel to the scene of the accident, especially if you or someone else has been hurt in the accident. The accident report can be very helpful and Florida law requires the reporting of an accident. Don't simply rely on exchanging information with the other driver.
Gather Information – take photographs or video of the damage to the vehicles involved in the accident and the scene of the accident. Also, make sure to get the name and contact information (address and telephone number) for any witnesses. This is crucial because as time passes, witnesses may forget important information or evidence may no longer be available to examine. An attorney can assist you with making sure this critical evidence is gathered, preserved and used appropriately.
Seek Prompt Medical Help – if you have been injured in the accident, it is important for you to seek emergency medical care as soon as possible following the accident, no matter how minor you may believe your injuries are. Insurance companies will try to hold it against you if you don't get prompt medical treatment for your injuries after the accident.
Notify Your Insurance Company – virtually all insurance companies require their insureds to notify them of the accident. However, seek the advise of an accident attorney before speaking directly to any insurance company. Insurance companies have a team of adjusters, investigators and attorneys whose goal is to minimize the amount of money they pay to accident victims.
Hire An Attorney – Within days or possibly even hours of the crash, you may be approached by a representative of the insurance company and asked to make a statement, sign papers, or accept a settlement offer. It is vital that you do not talk to any insurance investigator, sign any papers, or accept a settlement before getting the advice of a lawyer with experience in accident claims in order to protect your right to fair compensation. Many injuries caused by accidents have long-term consequences they simply do not account for. Insurance companies sometimes seek quick settlements before the victim has had a chance to consult an attorney or fully appreciate the extent of their injuries.
Get Follow-Up Treatment – if you were injured in the accident and have continued to experience pain and discomfort, it is important that you follow-up and receive continued care from a medical professional. Any lapse or delay may be used against you by the insurance company and hurt your claim.
Being involved in a car accident can be a very traumatic event. Stress, confusion, and injuries may affect your ability to think clearly. What you do immediately after a car accident can help or hurt your chances for financial recovery. For more information, contact us and allow our experience to work for you.