There are some things we don’t like to think about, like having an accident. We think that accidents only happen to “someone else” and we go about our day. The truth is that the car insurance industry statistics say that a driver will file a claim for a collision every 17.9 years. It’s true that careless drivers are likely to be involved in more accidents and careful drivers will probably have less, but some day a careless driver may crash into you while you’re sitting at a stop sign. What will you do?
Steps to Take After a South Florida Car Accident
You should keep this list where you can get to it quickly because we are all likely to be a bit flustered after an accident and forget.
- Stop! Never leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one. You can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident if you do.
- Call for Emergency Help. If anyone seems to be injured, even slightly, call for paramedics. Internal injuries can be serious even though they can’t be seen. The best thing is to get people medically checked out right away.
- Protect the Scene. Make sure one accident doesn’t turn to two by trying to get out of the way of other traffic, turn on flashers, and use road flares if you have them.
- Call the Police. Often people will try to exchange insurance information and deal with the situation later but this has often proved to be a bad decision. Have the police document the incident and it may help in the future.
- Take Notes. Observe everything around the accident and write down the details. License plates, the address, names of witnesses. Anything you see that might help later should be recorded right after the accident.
- Take Pictures. If you are able to take pictures, take many. Get views of damage to vehicles and damage to you if you are injured.
- Exchange Information and Cooperate with the Police. Answer the questions you are asked, but do not admit any fault. Never speculate about things that may or may not have contributed to the accident.
- Keep a File. Keep all information related to the accident in a central location like a file folder or an envelope. All your notes, police reports, everything. Documentation is important and people often tell us “I threw that out, didn’t think it was important.” Everything is important.
- Report the Accident. Call your insurance company and tell them what happened. Sometimes an insurance company will offer to “cut you a check” soon after an accident but that may preclude any further claims. Speak with an attorney first.
- Protect Your Rights. An automobile, motorcycle, or truck accident is an unfortunate and sometimes tragic event that hopefully you never have to deal with. If you do it’s very important to follow a course of action that protects your rights to compensation for your injuries, damages, and pain and suffering. Have the phone number of an experienced accident attorney stored in your phone and call.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been advising clients about accidents in south Florida for over 20 years. Every step you take should be thought out and planned to protect your rights, and we’ll help you if that time comes. Call us at 954-356-0006 and we’ll respond to your questions and concerns immediately.