The steps you should take after an auto accident depend on how seriously you are injured. Severely injured patients need to get immediate emergency medical care. Anyone else involved in the accident and any police officer at the scene of the accident should make medical attention their top priority.
For those who are injured but are in a physical and emotional position to address what just happened to them should take certain key steps while still at the accident scene. Taking the suggested steps will help maximize your recovery and get you the fair compensation you and your family deserve.
Steps to take
When you are involved in a car accident on the Fort Lauderdale roadways, taking the following actions can help you comply with state and local law, assist those in need, allow you preserve the evidence you will need to prove your case, and help you prevent further harm:
- Stay at the scene of the accident. If you leave the scene of a car crash where someone was injured or there was property damage, you could be charged with a hit-and-run offense.
- Check to see if passengers and occupants of any vehicles involved in the collision have injuries or are suffering immediate symptoms as a result of their injuries. If someone is injured, the police and emergency medical services should be contacted immediately so the injured person can get the medical assistance they need as soon as possible.
- Contact the police. The safest way to protect your rights and have a thorough investigation of the crash scene is to call the police. The police can arrange for immediate medical help for injured parties, assist in moving the vehicles off the highway safely, speak to witnesses, and record important details about the accident including the road conditions and the extent of damage to the vehicles involved in the collision. The police will normally prepare a written report which can be obtained once it is filed.
- Exchange necessary information and get witness names and contact information. Insurance and contact information should be exchanged with the drivers of all other vehicles involved in the crash. You should try to get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of everyone involved and of any witnesses. Keep in mind, the police will normally get this information too. However, obtaining the names and contact information of all witnesses yourself is important as witnesses often leave before police make it to the scene of the collision. This information can then be provided to the police when they arrive. When speaking to other drivers and passengers, don’t discuss how the accident happened. Statements you innocently make at the accident scene can be used against you.
- Contact your insurance company. Your insurance company needs to know if you were injured and if there was any damage to your vehicle or property. Because Florida is a personal injury protection (PIP) state, your insurance company should help pay some of your medical bills.
- Contact your lawyer. An experienced Miami car accident lawyer can answer all of your questions, help you get the medical assistance you need, and help you prepare your claim for settlement or your case for trial.
- Get medical attention. It is important to seek medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. Early treatment can help you get better care and can demonstrate to the insurance company how serious your injuries are. Keep a record of all the doctors you see, including the dates and recommended treatments.
- Keep a record of your daily activities. Pain and suffering awards are based, in part, on your daily pain and details on what activities you can no longer do or activities that are now limited by your injuries.
- Take photos of the damage to your car, all other vehicles involved in the collision and the accident scene. Photographs can be very persuasive with insurance companies and juries. Photos can show the extent of damage to the vehicles and what repairs are needed. Photos of damage to your car can also help show how you were injured, help explain the severity of those injures and even help prove was at fault for the accident.
- Don’t speak with the other insurance company. The insurance companies for the other drivers will try to get you to make statements against your own interests. Often they will seek to take a tape recorded before the innocent victim injured in a car accident has an opportunity to get legal advice. Unscrupulous insurance representative sometime offer unfair settlements to injured victims of an accident before the injured party has had an opportunity to seek medical attention and needed diagnostic testing to determine the full extent of their injuries. These early settlements can sometime have devastating consequences for the injured victim and their families. Be polite if they call and consider doing the following: (1) take down the insurance representative’s name, phone number and the claim number; (2) do not give a recorded statement before seeking legal advice; and (3) do not accept an injury settlement before seeing a doctor about the extent of any serious injuries and consulting with an attorney.
Our Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorneys are experienced trial lawyers. We negotiate fair settlements and argue persuasively before juries when insurance companies act unfairly or are unreasonable. For immediate help after an accident, please call Yeboah Law Group, P.A. at (800) TELL-SAM or complete our contact form.
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