A car accident can happen at any moment, no matter where you are driving, and it is always unpleasant. To top it off, the legal processes you need to go through following the incident can also be tough. To make things go smoother, car accident attorneys have many suggestions on what to do when you get into an accident. Here are some of those suggestions if the incident happens in Florida.
Call the police immediately
Call 911 immediately. Even if there are no apparent injuries or damage to property, the first thing you should do after a car accident is to call the police. The sooner the police arrive at the scene, the more accurate their report will be.
Aside from your statement, prepare to provide the following information:
- Date and time of the accident
- Personal information
- Information about your vehicle
- Description of the road and any environmental issues right before the accident happened
- Any equipment that may have documented the accident (e.g. dashboard cameras)
Do not apologize to anybody
It is a knee-jerk reaction for many of us, but do not say “sorry” in the wake of an auto accident. Apologies can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, which can be used against you later. Never apologize, even if you think you are at fault or if you are not saying it to someone directly involved.
Properly take pictures of the accident scene
If no one sustained any major injury and you have a bit of time while waiting for the police to arrive, take as many pictures as you can of the accident scene. Make sure to cover various viewpoints and to do this safely. Take pictures of the traffic lights, the intersection, the road markings, the road signs, skid marks, possible obstructions to either driver’s view, and everything else that might be relevant to the crash.
Check on the other drivers and passengers
One of the first things you need to do after the accident should be to check on your passengers and the others drivers or passengers involved. You should remain calm and check to see whether anyone was hurt, regardless of who was at fault. Exchange names and contact information with the other people involved, but you should neither apologize nor accuse. Instead, take pictures of the scene while waiting for police, and move your car out of the way of traffic if possible.
Get a copy of the police report
Get a copy of your police or crash report, which the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) provides within ten days following the accident. Review the report carefully and make sure that all the details are accurate. If you notice any mistakes or incomplete information, request to have authorities review the report. It is not admissible in court, but insurance companies use the report to calculate claim settlements.
Contact a personal injury attorney
Immediately call a personal injury attorney after the accident and discuss with them your rights and options. Calling an attorney is free, but it does not mean that you need to hire them. You need to do this to make sure that you are dealing with the accident properly and lawfully.
You never know when you will get involved in a car accident. Though we all hope it never happens, staying prepared and knowing how to properly handle the situation is always a good thing. In case you get into an accident, remember to stay calm throughout the entire ordeal. Steel yourself for the worst, while hoping for the best.