The moments following a car accident can be hectic and overwhelming. To worsen an already stressful situation, you might be unsure of what to say or do or who you should and shouldn’t speak with. Without taking the proper precautions, you could end up accidentally saying the wrong things to the wrong people. Knowing critical mistakes to avoid is just as important as knowing the correct steps to take following an accident. By educating yourself on what to do after a car accident, you will preserve your right to compensation and strengthen your odds of having a successful claim. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will further help to ensure that you get the maximum compensation you deserve and hold the negligent party accountable.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
After being involved in a car accident, your health and well-being should be a top priority. Check for injuries and call 911, even if you don’t think you need medical attention. Unless the accident scene poses an immediate danger, try to leave the scene as is.
Once you’ve confirmed everyone is okay, the next thing to do is start protecting your legal rights. Here are some steps to follow to make sure you protect yourself and your rights after a car accident:
- Contact local law enforcement. After the accident, you need to report it to the local police, highway patrol, or sheriff. If the accident caused damages greater than $500, you would need a police report later to get compensation.
- Move the vehicles out of the way of traffic. First, make sure no one is injured, then move the cars out of traffic flow.
- Gather evidence and be sure to exchange insurance and contact information with all parties involved in the accident, as well as any nearby witnesses. Be sure to take photos of the other car(s)’ license plates and insurance cards. In addition, get pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident, any damages that occurred, and the accident scene. Photos will be helpful later when you need to establish liability with insurance companies.
- Organize your evidence. Be sure to back up any photos on your electronic device and gather all the information you can regarding the accident. The more information and proof you have later, the better case you and your attorney can make for yourself. Memories will fade with time so try to write everything down while it is fresh in your mind immediately after the accident.
- Notify your car insurance company. Florida’s no-fault law means you will file an initial claim with your insurance company after the accident. Even if it was not your fault, be sure to notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney. After a car accident, you’ll want sound legal advice regarding your rights and responsibilities. You may not need an attorney for a minor accident, but it’s firmly advisable to contact one if the accident resulted in serious injuries or criminal charges.
Things You Should Avoid Doing After a Car Accident
Avoid these common missteps after a car accident to protect yourself and your legal rights:
- Don’t leave the scene. Stay at the scene and try to ensure that all parties involved stay at the scene. All parties involved in the accident should stop their vehicle(s) if there has been property damage or someone has sustained injuries.
- Don’t forget to call 911. As we advised earlier, always call 911 after the accident. If nobody has any immediate or apparent injuries, you might make the mistake of thinking it’s okay not to call 911. Call 911 regardless of how serious the accident was.
- Try not to lose your cool. We understand that emotions are likely running high after an unexpected car accident. Try not to become angry or upset with the other parties, even if the accident was their fault. Remain calm and prioritize getting help for those who need it.
- Never admit fault. Be honest, but never admit fault. Insurance companies will use these statements against you later to pay you less.
- Don’t neglect the aftermath. Again, seek medical treatment and contact your insurance company. While these tasks may seem tedious, failing to follow up on them will only further complicate your personal injury claim down the line. An experienced Florida car accident lawyer can help you deal with the pesky aftermath of a car accident.
- Don’t speak to the other party’s insurance company without a lawyer. They will try to settle your claim for as little as possible. They may ask for a written or recorded statement, to which you should not oblige. Your lawyer can communicate directly with them on your behalf.
- Don’t enter into an unfair settlement agreement. If you believe you received an unjust or low settlement offer, consult your attorney. They can help you determine if the request is reasonable.
- Don’t try to file a lawsuit on your own. This might end up costing you more money in the long run. Most cases after car accidents involve complex legal claims and processes. Lawyers are trained professionals with experience in such dealings. Your attorney can help you understand your legal rights and represent you in court.
- Don’t discuss the accident with the other party, this could jeopardize your claim.
- Don’t provide a written statement to your insurance company. Only provide as much information as you need to.
- Don’t allow anyone to access your medical records. Insurance companies are notorious for using your medical records to try and deny claims.
- Don’t post anything about the accident on social media. We understand you want friends and family to know what happened to you, but you should refrain from doing so. The other party will use anything you post to minimize or deny your claim.
- Don’t decline to hire a lawyer, as this may be the most critical step you can take to ensure you have the best outcome after a car accident. Call a Florida car accident lawyer today to discuss your options.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we take the time to listen to your story to help get the outcome you want.
We will prioritize getting to know you and thoroughly understanding your case when you contact us. We will be in your corner and fight to get you justice from the first call. We understand how difficult and emotionally turbulent it can be to navigate complex legal situations. We will do our best to provide you with all the information and resources you need to make your life easier. From start to finish, we will promptly answer all your questions and provide the best legal advice so that you can make informed decisions about your future.
We pride ourselves on being empathetic, compassionate, and caring. This is just one of the reasons we are one of Florida’s top-rated personal injury attorneys – providing customized legal advice tailored to suit your individual needs.
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.