When you are involved in a car accident, it is vital to take a few seconds to breathe, calm down and try to center yourself. The next steps you take can make all the difference between the compensation you deserve for any injury you suffered, and a critical misstep. Here is an overview of how you should handle your Florida post-accident checklist.
Always Be Prepared
Nobody wants to think that they will be in an accident, but the truth is, most of us will be at some point in time. It never hurts to be prepared in advance. Most states have accident report guidesand forms available. You should download one and keep it in your vehicle to reference when you need it.
In addition, create a handy checklist from the information here (or just print off this blog) and keep it with the guide and form.
Florida Post-Accident Checklist: First Steps
Immediately after the accident, the first thing to do is take stock of the situation. Is your vehicle still able to be driven? If so, move it to the side of the road immediately.
Are you in pain? Does it appear that there are any fatalities or serious injuries? If you are seriously hurt, don't move—you could make it worse. Otherwise, make sure everyone is okay and call 911 for any medical help you might need. If necessary, call a towing service through your insurance company.
Never, ever apologize under any circumstances while at the accident scene. This can be taken as an admission of fault later on. Document everything about the accident, including police officers, insurance agents, other drivers, and witnesses.
Exchange information with any other drivers that were involved in the accident. Insurance information is vital; contact information is secondary. Never give out your driver's license or registration information under any circumstances. Nor should you provide address or contact information beyond your insurance policy info.
Speak to any witnesses present. Get their names and contact information so they can corroborate what happened later. Take photos of the accident; the more you can get, the better. Photograph all damage, the license plates of the vehicles, landmarks and street signs, skid marks, debris, anything that will help tell the story of the accident. Note the time, date, weather and traffic, circumstances of the accident and details of all actions taken.
After the Accident
Call your insurance company within 24 hours to report the incident. Be honest at all times. Get seen by a doctor, even if you aren't injured, and keep detailed records of any and all medical and repair costs and everyone with whom you speak.
Above all, seek representation by a qualified personal injury attorney. Never sign anything nor let an insurance company strong arm you into giving away your rights. A qualified attorney can protect you and make sure that you are compensated for repairs, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and everything you need to get your life back. If you have been in an accident and need help, we are here. Give us a call for a free consultation today or email us your questions.