If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident with a negligent driver, knowing what to do next will directly affect your ability to recover compensation from a negligent driver. Here are the first things you should do after an accident.
Call the Police or Local Law Enforcement
If you are involved in a ‘significant’ car accident in Florida, you are legally required to report the accident to the police. An accident resulting in financial losses of $500 or more is considered ‘significant’.
The police officer will complete an official police report, which identifies the parties involved, the location of the accident, relevant details about the scene, and the vehicle involved. The report will also include any witnesses to the accident as well. Police will collect evidence and look for any impairment from those involved in the accident, such as alcohol or drug consumption, which may prove pivotal in your claim. Police officers will listen to statements and include in the record their conclusion as to how the accident occurred. The official police report can be crucial in any personal injury claim – especially if the other driver was negligent.
Seek Medical Attention
Get care for your injuries as soon as possible. Many victims involved in an accident may initially feel fine, experience little to no pain, and have no visible injuries. However, once the adrenaline from the accident wears off, the pain can come on quickly. It is always wise to be examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Nothing is more important than your health.
Another important reason to get medical care right away is that the insurance company will look at how quickly you sought medical care after the car accident, as they may believe it is an indication of the seriousness of your injuries. Once you start your medical care, it is important that you complete the treatment plan from your doctor and therapists. If you miss appointments and do not complete the recommended treatment plan, it can affect the value of your claim with the insurance company.
Collect Evidence from the Scene
It is always a good idea to collect as much evidence as you can after a car accident. Photographs are relied on heavily by insurance adjusters, judges, and juries to determine liability. Be sure to take clear pictures of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, crosswalks, and traffic signals and signs. Take pictures from several locations so that you capture different angles of the collision.
Take pictures of your injuries, and when possible, the injuries of any other party involved.
It is important to understand that you must provide evidence that supports your claim for damages in order to recover compensation. Evidence is usually demonstrated with photographs and documentation. The following documents are some of the key items you should gather:
- All medical-related records, including doctor’s appointments, treatments, therapy, medications, surgeries, and hospital visits. Be sure to include the associated bills and insurance statements.
- Keep records of how the incident impacts you and your family’s daily life, such as missed workdays, and routine activities that you can no longer undertake.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
You should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. Providing the attorney with information about the accident and any evidence that you have collected will help them to understand if you have a legitimate case against the other driver for negligence and are entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Florida adheres to a “no-fault” insurance practice. “No-fault” simply means that any driver involved in an accident must first file a claim with their insurance company to receive compensation for damages, including medical bills, lost income, and other financial losses – regardless of fault or liability. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, proving fault can be quite simple and clear-cut. However, frequently determining liability can be more complicated. Fault or liability is primarily determined by the degree of negligence that can be attributed to each party involved.
Negligence means careless or inadvertent conduct that results in harm or damage. One can be negligent by failing to do something, such as not coming to a complete stop at an intersection, failing to yield when you do not have the right-of-way, or by actively doing something they should not have done, such as running a red light or speeding.
A driver must use reasonable care to avoid injuring other drivers or pedestrians. If reasonable care is not demonstrated and someone is harmed as a result, the driver can be financially liable for that person’s injuries and other losses.
Examples of Reasonable Care
- Driving at a reasonable speed
- Stopping at a red light
- Watching for pedestrians
- Following the vehicle ahead at a safe distance
- Maintaining control of the car
- Maintenance and proper use of vehicle equipment
Contact Us Today
If you were injured in an accident with a driver who did not exercise reasonable care, having a knowledgeable, trusted personal injury attorney working for you can make the difference in ensuring you get full compensation for your injuries and damages. Your attorney will know how to prove the other driver’s negligence and ensure you get what you are entitled to receive.
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we listen to you and want to hear your story!
When you contact us, we will take the time to get to know you and understand all the ways your life has been affected by your accident. We pride ourselves on being empathetic, compassionate, and caring. This is just one of the reasons we are Florida’s top-rated personal injury attorneys – providing personalized legal advice addressed to meet your individual needs.
From the first call, you will know that we will be there with you, helping you to navigate through what can be a complex, difficult, and emotionally challenging time. We strive to provide you with all the information and resources you need. We are dedicated to making your life easier. From start to finish, we will promptly answer all your questions and provide the best legal advice, so you can make informed decisions about your future.
We build trust through open, timely communication, and straightforward legal advice. We are an award-winning, established personal injury law firm, fighting for our clients for over 60 years, and have recovered more than $145 million in awards.
Contact us today and we will fight to get the results you deserve.