Car accidents with injuries happen every day in Florida–a state that sees thousands of car accidents each year. These injuries can be devastating–to your health, your relationships, and your finances. If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering what to do next. These 10 steps will put you on the road to recovery.
Take These 10 Steps If You Have Been Injured In A Car Accident In Florida
Step 1: Check For Injuries, Call 911
The first thing that you should do (if you are able) is check or injuries to you and your passengers, as well as the occupants of the other vehicle. After assessing the situation, you should call 911. You should call 911 even if the cars are not badly damaged and there are no visible injuries to anyone involved in the crash. Some of the most serious injuries that result from a car accident (e.g. head trauma, internal bleeding) are not visible to the naked eye. Also, do not let the other driver talk you out of calling 911. When you call 911, you will want to give the dispatcher the following information:
- Your Location and Nearby Landmarks
- The Extent of Injuries That You Are Aware Of
- Any Dangers At The Scene, Such As Fuel Leaks
Stay calm and stay quiet until help arrives.
Step 2: Do Not Admit Fault
We advise victims of car crashes to stay quiet at the scene of the crash so that they avoid making any statements that can be construed as an admission of guilt. If you have been involved in a car accident, a simple statement like “I’m sorry,” or “I don’t know what I was thinking” can come back to bite you. Always remember that silence is not the same thing as dishonesty. There is no reason to admit fault at the scene of the accident–that is determined much later in the courts. You should also keep in mind that in Florida you may be able to receive compensation even if you are partially to blame for the accident.
Step 3: Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
When the paramedics arrive at the scene, you should allow them to treat you even if you don’t believe that you have been injured. As we said before, many of the most serious injuries following a car accident are invisible. It is important that you tell the paramedics about every symptom that you are experiencing. If need be, let the paramedics transport you to a nearby hospital.
Even if you do not need medical transport, you should still seek treatment as soon as possible–either from your medical provider, an urgent care center, or an emergency room. Part of the reason that you should seek treatment – aside from the obvious health concerns – is that any delays in seeking medical care could be used against you when you file a personal injury claim in Florida. The other driver’s insurance company will argue that you could not have been seriously injured if you waited so long to seek treatment.
Step 4: Gather Evidence To Support Your Claim
Your next step is to gather evidence supporting your personal injury claim. Such evidence includes:
- The Other Driver’s Contact Information
- Photographs From The Scene
- Video Footage From The Scene
- Witness Statements
While witnesses of the crash are not required to stick around, there is a good chance that some will. If you find a witness who is willing to give a statement, write that statement down and have the witness sign and date it. You should also take down the witness’s contact information.
Step 5: Notify Your Insurer
Your next step should be to notify your insurance company about the crash, even if you were not at fault. For one, you may be contractually obligated to contact your insurance company following a crash. Additionally, your insurance company can be a helpful resource, covering immediate medical treatment, paying for car repairs, and even defending you from lawsuits.
Step 6: Notify The Insurance Company Of The At-Fault Driver
After notifying your insurance company of the accident, you will also want to notify the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Keep in mind that once you retain the services of a Florida car accident attorney at Alpizar Law, the other driver’s insurance company is not allowed to contact you directly. All correspondence must go through your attorney.
Step 7: Know Your Rights Concerning The Statement
An insurance claims adjuster may ask you to give a statement. These adjusters can be underhanded and may ask you the same question in several different ways so that you will slip up and say something that may be used against you. The adjuster might also fail to inform you that your statement is being recorded. You should never give a statement if you are upset, confused, tired, or on medication.
Remember that in Florida, you do not have to give a statement to an adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company. Talk to your attorney at Alpizar Law if you have any concerns regarding the statement.
Step 8: Get Your Paperwork Together
When filing a car accident personal injury claim, it pays (literally) to be as organized as possible. At the very least, you will need the following:
- A Record Of Your Side Of The Story
- The Police Report
- Medical Bills, Records, And Receipts
- All Correspondence Between You And Your Insurance Company
If you are too frazzled to take detailed notes at the time of the accident, you might want to record your thoughts (a smartphone is a great tool for this) and write them down later when you are more collected.
Step 9: Understand The Statute Of Limitations
In Florida, there is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. The statute of limitations – which determines how long you have to file a personal injury claim after a car accident – begins on the date of the accident. For more information on the statute of limitations in Florida, visit the following link: https://alpizarlaw.com/florida-personal-injury-statute-of-limitations/.
Step 10: Find The Right Attorney
One of the most important steps that you can take – right behind the steps that ensure you and your family’s health and safety – is calling an attorney. A Florida car accident attorney at Alpizar Law can help you get the compensation you deserve. Without an experienced attorney, you will be fighting an uphill battle against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.