Five Steps to Follow After Being Involved in a Vehicular (Automobile) Accident
Many people ask “what should I do after being involved in a car accident?” and many Personal Injury law firms provide a guide on what to do after an accident, but none of the guides available are as straight to the point and helpful as this. Reading over this guide just one time will allow you to avoid making mistakes after being involved in a car accident.
1. STAY CALM: Accidents are traumatic experiences and no one can plan or enjoy being involved in an accident, but the worst thing you can do after the accident is lose your cool. There is no way of going back in time and avoiding the accident. Staying calm allows you to think more clearly and it keeps you from over-reacting (e.g. fighting with the other driver, taking blame for the accident, saying something you don’t mean, etc.). Simply take several deep breaths, move your vehicle to the side of the road, put your hazard lights on, and if possible, step out of the vehicle and stand at a safe location near where the accident took place.
2. CALL 911: The operator will ask if someone was injured and based on your observations answer the question truthfully, but err on the side of their being injuries if you cannot tell. Many injuries obtained from automobile accidents are not symptomatic until days after the accident. Even if no one is hurt, the emergency unit needs to be called so that reports are made and evidence is preserved. If you are already feeling injured you need to get into an ambulance or visit the emergency room as soon as you can and certainly within 24 hours. If someone else appears to be injured let the 911 operator know, but be very careful if you try to help other people because once you undertake to help someone you can be opening yourself up to liability if your actions don’t rise to reasonable standards. Florida Statue 316.066 states that the driver of a vehicle involved of an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage in an apparent amount of at least $500 must make a written report of the accident to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles WITHIN 10 DAYS. If the investigating officer files a report of the accident, than the driver doesn’t need to submit a report. Make sure to get the police report number so that you can later make a copy of the written report. If the officer does not submit a report, the officer will provide the drivers with a copy of the accident report form. Under no circumstances should you leave the scene without first calling “911” and reporting the accident.
3. PRESERVE THE EVIDENCE: Get the license plate number off of the other car in case the other driver seems under the influence of drugs or alcohol and tries to drive off. If you have a camera take pictures of the vehicles, people, and things involved. Try to transcribe how the accident took place, facts about the accident, any spoken words or gestures, and any injuries or symptoms you are experiencing.
4. CALL A CAR ACCIDENT LAW FIRM: Call a car accident law firm (such as us “The Car Accident Firm“) as soon as possible. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can assist you on how to answer questions from insurance adjusters and can even help you recover compensation for your injuries and damages to your vehicle. DO NOT sign anything or answer any questions until you tell your attorney about the situation. Your attorney will be able to have doctors see you even if you don’t have health coverage or any money. Your attorney can also help get your car fixed or repaired and get you into a car rental.
5. CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR: If you leave the scene in an ambulance than this step will be performed automatically. We suggest that you do leave the scene in an ambulance or at least visit the emergency room within twenty four hours after an accident to make sure you aren’t suffering from any injuries. If you do not visit a doctor within fourteen days after an accident you lose your right to have your insurance company pay $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages on your behalf, so it is very important that you at least visit a doctor within fourteen days after the accident. DO NOT settle any claims from the accident until your doctor has advised you about the severity of your injuries. We can help you find the best doctors for any type of symptom, pain, or discomfort you are experiencing and can get you treated without any money down and for very inexpensive prices.