Each year, tens of thousands of car accidents happen in Florida. From West Palm Beach to Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and beyond, the Sunshine State is bustling year-round. Some drivers are headed to business meetings, some are hurrying home for the day, and others are vacationing, which means they’re even more likely to be distracted while driving in an unfamiliar place.
When it comes to safety on Florida roads and highways, this combination of locals and tourists can become a recipe for a car crash disaster. Most people assume it’ll never happen to them… until it does.
This article is meant to prepare you for that dreaded event that occurs when you least expect it: an auto accident that leaves you physically injured, financially strained, and stressed out.
1) Call for help. Even if you don’t immediately see or feel an injury, it doesn’t mean you haven’t sustained one. The same goes for anyone else at the scene. The health and safety of everyone involved should be the priority. Contact the police or call 911 as soon as possible. An officer will arrive to assess the scene and write a police report, while medical personnel will evaluate all parties for signs of injury.
2) Stay put! Some people leave the scene too soon after an accident, especially if there wasn’t any significant damage to vehicles and everyone involved appeared to be “okay.” However, this can be a grave mistake, as it could be perceived as fleeing the scene to avoid responsibility. This could not only make you look guilty but result in criminal charges. It doesn’t matter if you have somewhere to be – staying put until an officer gives you the green light to leave is paramount.
3) Collect evidence from the scene. One of the most significant benefits of smartphones is the ease with which they allow us to take pictures. And one of the most important places to take pictures is at the scene of an accident (as soon after the collision as possible). Be sure to capture photos of the surrounding intersection, including street names, signs, and lights.
In addition to taking pictures, gather the contact information of bystanders who could serve as witnesses and the other drivers involved in the accident. This information could prove extremely useful, especially if the other driver(s) try to blame you for the accident, despite it not being your fault.
4) Notify your insurance company. Under Florida law, all drivers must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This will help pay for your medical bills and lost wages, even if you are eventually found to have been entirely at fault for the accident. However, you need to report the accident and injuries to your insurance company as soon as possible to take advantage of PIP. In addition, you need to ensure that medical treatment for your injuries begins within two weeks of the accident; if you wait longer, PIP might not cover you.
5) Call a Florida personal injury attorney who handles auto accidents in the area where the accident occurred. Far too many people underestimate the value of hiring a personal injury attorney who can help navigate an auto accident claim. From collecting hard-to-obtain evidence to speaking with witnesses and handling communications with the insurance companies, an experienced car accident lawyer will help prove that the accident was not your fault.
If money is a concern, remember that most personal injury attorneys won’t charge you a penny until you receive a settlement.
At Fenstersheib Law Group, you’ll find a team of seasoned and compassionate personal injury attorneys dedicated to resolving your car accident claim as quickly and smoothly as possible – helping you to relax and focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
If you’re not ready to commit but need someone to discuss your case with, we’re here to listen and eager to hear from you.
Our main office is in Hallandale Beach, Florida, and we have secondary Florida offices
located in Hollywood, Miramar, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, & Jacksonville.
Call Fenstersheib Law Group at 800-TELL-ROBERT.