Critical Steps after a Florida Car Accident
No matter how carefully you drive, you'll probably have a car accident at some point. The steps you take after the accident are important. What you do or don't do can impact your ability to recover compensation from your own insurance company or from the insurance company of the other driver. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're involved in a car accident in Florida.
The first thing to do after a car accident is to check to see if anyone is injured. If someone is seriously injured, call 911. Give the operator the location, describe the crash scene, and tell a little about the severity of the injuries.
If you're injured, go to the hospital or see a doctor immediately after the accident. Failure to seek medical attention could discredit your injury claim and give an insurance company a reason to deny your claim.
Reporting the Accident
Florida law requires you to report an accident to the police if someone is injured or if there’s property damage of $500 or more. If the police officer at the scene doesn't file a crash report, you, if you were driving, must do so if the accident was a hit-and-run accident or involved injuries or death, a drunk driver, or property damage of more than $500. The crash report must be submitted to the Florida Highway Patrol within 10 days. You can download the form online by going to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website. You can get a copy of the crash report from the Florida Highway Patrol Traffic Crash Report website.
The accident scene will change soon after the accident. Try to get pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash before they’re moved. Get pictures of debris scattered about the scene and skid marks on the pavement. The pictures can be important in determining who was at fault for the accident. Get contact information from the other driver as well as any witnesses to the accident. Take pictures of your injuries and keep records of your doctor visits and medical expenses.
Florida is a no-fault state. Drivers in the Sunshine State must carry personal injury protection of at least $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits. This insurance will cover damages for your injuries until you reach the maximum. If you sustain the loss of an important bodily function, a permanent injury, or significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, you can pursue a claim against the driver who was at fault for the accident.
Notify your insurance company immediately after the accident, whether or not you're at fault for the accident. Insurance policies contain clauses requiring that you cooperate with the insurance company in the investigation of a car accident. Also notify the at-fault driver's insurance company to report the accident. Once you hire a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer will handle communications with the insurance company.
Hiring a Lawyer
Contact a lawyer after a car accident. An attorney in personal injury in Bradenton, FL, will investigate your accident to determine who is at fault. The attorney will work with the insurance company to see that you get reasonable compensation for your injuries. Most car accident cases are settled, but if a reasonable settlement can't be reached, the attorney will take your case to trial.
If you're injured in a car accident, call Erjavec Injury Law at 941-907-1133 for a free consultation.