Car accidents are more common in South Florida than in other parts of the United States. As such, it is important that local drivers know what to do should they be involved in a car accident. Here is our quick list of the four things you should do right after a car accident. If you neglect one of these things, you may find yourself paying expenses out of pocket or even becoming the target in a personal injury lawsuit.
1. Check to See if Anyone is Hurt
If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road and check to see if anyone is injured in the accident. When it is in your power to do so, you are responsible as a participant in the accident to help any injured parties receive medical attention. For most, this simply means that you call 911 to let them know that someone is, or may be, hurt in the accident.
It is not necessary for you to apply any first aid or medical response that you are not trained in or familiar with. Particularly when there is a head, neck, or back injury, it is best that you help the injured person remain still until an ambulance arrives.
For yourself, even if you do not feel any pain, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If your injuries come later, you may not be able to link those injuries to the accident. This is especially important if you are seeking compensation through your insurance provider or in a personal injury lawsuit.
2. Take Pictures of the Damage and Scene
Having pictures from the scene and the damage to vehicles can help your insurance company determine who was liable for the accident and how much it will cost to repair the damage.
More importantly, if you or someone you love is injured in a car accident where the other driver was at fault, your medical expenses may exceed insurance caps. If this occurs, then you may be eligible for compensation in a personal injury claim. Pictures from the scene on the day of the accident will be critical for the discovery process in your personal injury claim.
3. Report the Accident
How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Florida?
Florida law dictates that if your car accident resulted in $500 or more in property damage, you have 10 days to report your accident to the local police. Additionally, if anyone was injured or if any vehicles were towed away from the scene, the accident must be reported.
Failure to report the accident to the police is a traffic violation. It is always best to call the police immediately so they can respond to the accident and help everyone determine if an ambulance is necessary.
Additionally, you need to contact your insurance company to report the accident. Each insurance company works a little differently, so it is important that you report your accident to them within their required time frame.
If you intend to file a personal injury claim after your car accident, Florida’s statute of limitations requires you to file your claim within two years of the date of the accident.
4. Speak with a Car Accident Attorney
If your insurance company is dragging its feet, or your situation looks like the situation described above, you should speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on your next steps.
For those who end up filing a personal injury claim after a car accident, an experienced attorney is critical to receiving the highest possible amount in damages. You could receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, transportation costs, and more.
Common Mistakes After a Car Accident
- Drivers involved use a “handshake agreement” to not report the accident or get the insurance companies involved.
- Someone fails to report that the other driver appeared drunk or sleepy at the time of the accident.
- An injured driver feels okay after the accident but realizes later that they are injured, and they find that they waited too long to seek medical attention for those injuries. In this case, insurance may not pay those medical costs and the injuries may not be admissible in a personal injury claim.
- A driver assumes that they are not liable and they do not acquire a copy of the accident police report.
- Injured drivers use their regular medical insurance instead of their personal injury protection (PIP) through their vehicle insurance provider.
- The driver takes pictures but forgets to put them in a safe place.
- The driver takes too few or no pictures at all after the accident.
- A driver is pressured to sign a release by someone else in the wake of an accident.
For more information about how a South Florida personal injury attorney can help you with your car accident case, contact Balkan and Patterson at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.