What you need to do after a car accident in Florida
An automobile collision is a shocking and dramatic event and, understandably, most people have no idea what to do after they are in involved in a car accident. However, the following simple steps are absolutely imperative for you to take if you have been involved in a car accident. First and foremost you must stop if you have been in an accident. If you leave the scene of an accident that involves injuries without providing your information, your license may be revoked.
1. Get Off the Road
If no one is seriously injured and are able to safely pull your vehicle to the side of the road immediately after an accident, you should do so. Exiting your vehicle or leaving it in a lane in the middle of the road or a highway can be extremely dangerous for both you as well as other drivers. Leaving your car in the middle of the road can cause other accidents. That is why it is essential that you pull your vehicle to the side of the road and exit it once you have safely gotten yourself and any passengers in your vehicle outside the zone of danger. If you cannot move your car yourself, you are required to get help or call a tow truck so you are not blocking traffic. While you wait, make sure you turn on your hazard lights so other drivers can see you better.
2. Call the Police
After you have ensured that you have safely made it to the side of the road, make sure to call the police and tell them that you have been in an accident and ask that a unit be dispatched to your location. Florida law requires you to report the accident to law enforcement if it involves injuries or damage over $500. Exchange insurance information with all of the drivers involved. Use a cell phone to take pictures of each insurance card, front and back to make sure you have accurate information. Use your phone as well to safely take photos of the vehicles, people and any injuries. Take photos of anything else you think may be important and perhaps played a role in the accident like hazards, construction, obstructions, skid marks and debris.
If the other driver approaches you and tries to convince you there is no need to call the police, this is a huge red flag and a very bad idea. Insist firmly that the other driver stick around until the police arrive. The police are experienced at investigating accidents. Your insurance company likely will request a copy of the report. Although you may think you will never forget the accident, memories fade with time and details can become blurry. The police report will contain information about the vehicles, drivers, occupants, weather and road conditions.
3. Seek Medical Treatment Right Away If You Have Been Injured
Make sure that you check yourself and all of your passengers for injuries. If anyone needs medical attention, get help immediately. This will help make sure that injuries are not further complicated. It also provides solid documentation that will be needed later for insurance purposes or a lawsuit. A delay seeking treatment can make it more difficult to prove that your
injuries were caused by the accident, particularly if you wait a long time to seek such treatment. In addition, recent changes to Florida law require that you secure medical treatment related to injuries suffered in a car accident within 14 days of the accident to ensure full insurance coverage. Thus, it is extremely important for you to seek medical attention for any injuries you have suffered in an accident as soon as possible.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after you have been involved in an accident in order to report the accident and begin the claims process. Look over your policy so that you know what your options are before giving a formal statement about the crash. Insurance companies may use recorded information you give them to try to deny or lessen your claim. You may not have an option but to give a recorded statement to your insurance company. Be clear with your insurer that you are more than happy to cooperate such as providing all contact information of the other driver(s).
You should not speak with the insurance company for the other driver(s). If you receive calls from anyone after the accident who is not from your insurance company, decline to take the call.
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