More than six million car accidents occur every year across the country. Fortunately, most of them involve property damage. Being involved in one can be traumatizing, especially if the car accident happened through no fault of your own. You might feel pain, be in shock, and be emotionally distressed. However, knowing what to do after a Florida car accident can help you protect your rights to maximum compensation and hold the at-fault driver accountable. Keep reading to find out what you should do after a car accident that is not your fault in Palm Bay, FL.
Ensure your safety and that of your passengers
The first and most important thing you can do right after a car accident occurs is to ensure the safety of everyone. Do you and your passengers need medical attention? You will also want to take stock of your surroundings. Did the car crash occur on a quiet residential street or at a busy intersection? Move your car out of the way of the traffic, but only if it is safe to do so and if it is still operational. You can leave where it is if it’s not impeding traffic, but ensure you turn on the hazard lights until police arrive. Be sure to talk to the other driver and let them know you are not leaving the scene.
Call the police
Whether the car accident was minor or resulted in serious injuries, you should call 911. Reporting a car, truck, or motorcycle accident is a legal requirement. The other driver should not convince you to skip this step because there was hardly a scratch or the people involved had minor injuries.
Once the Florida highway patrol gets to the scene, they will create an accident report based on the physical evidence and statements provided. When recording your statement with law enforcement, be truthful and stick to facts. The incident report, which might not be admissible in court, will prove helpful for your accident injury claim.
Seek medical care
When a severe car accident occurs in Palm Bay, FL, emergency services will likely arrive at the scene. They will provide first aid for auto accident victims who are unconscious and injured before transporting them to the nearest hospital. Even if you are lucky enough to walk away from the accident with minor injuries, failing to seek medical treatment as soon as possible is a mistake for the following reasons;
- Your health and safety should come first: The lack of visible physical injuries does not dispel that you might have suffered internal injuries. Car accidents are often traumatic and trigger the production of adrenaline, which masks the pain for several hours. Getting medical attention for common car accident injuries as soon as possible is in your best interest.
- It might affect your insurance claim: The defense’s legal team and the insurance company will fight you at every turn when you file a car accident claim against the at-fault driver. They will try to argue that you did not suffer severe car accident injuries. Meticulous medical records serve as valuable evidence for car accident claims and help negotiate a better settlement with insurance companies.
Collect evidence at the accident scene
When law enforcement arrives at the accident scene, they will collect evidence and gather relevant information for the incident report. However, it could not hurt your car accident claim to gather relevant information personally. Make sure you have the following information before leaving the scene of the car accident:
- Name, address, and phone number of the drivers and passengers involved in the accident
- Witness statements and their contact information
- The other driver’s license & plate number, and insurance information
Keep in mind that insurance companies and courts prefer photo evidence because it is more reliable than the law enforcement’s interpretation of the car accident. Your lawyer, the defense attorney, and the associated insurance companies will use the photographs to determine liability. So take any relevant photos or videos at the scene and present them to your car accident lawyer when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Don’t admit fault
Resist the urge to do say you are partially liable for the car accident in Palm Bay, FL. It is human nature to want to be sympathetic and apologize, even if the traumatic event is not your fault. The insurance carrier and legal defense teams will often use your apologies as proof of guilt when cross-examining you at a Florida law court. This will come into play when filing a third-party insurance claim.
Statements like “I’m sorry” can be construed as evidence of property damage liability and the insurance company might use it to deny your Florida car accident claim. Even if someone blames you for the accident, don’t say anything that could be construed as an agreement of their statement. You will also want to avoid saying that you aren’t injured or don’t need medical treatment.
Document the incident
Florida personal injury protection (PIP) insurance does not cover non-economic damages. However, if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, non-economic damages will factor into the compensation you ask for. The problem is that quantifying such damages is not easy. Documenting the incident and the car accident injuries you suffered might help your injury attorney pursue maximum compensation.
In addition to detailing your car accident injuries in a journal, keep a file of all your accident-related documents. Your car accident attorney can use the information as evidence in your injury claim case.
Contact a personal injury attorney
Car accidents can be traumatic from a physical, mental, and emotional standpoint. As a result, you need the legal advice and support of an experienced car accident attorney. They are better equipped to investigate the circumstances of your car accident and give you the best chances of winning your injury case. They will negotiate with your own insurance company on your behalf and negotiate a fair settlement that pays for lost and future income as well as medical expenses, which can be steep if you suffer immobilizing injuries.
File a car accident claim with the insurance company
According to the Florida Statutes 627.736, anyone who registers a vehicle should carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability in compliance with the state’s mandatory no-fault coverage laws. Regardless of the severity of the Florida car accident injuries, your PIP insurance coverage ensures that you will be reimbursed for the damage.
Accident injury victims in Palm Bay, FL, who exceed their PIP policy limits often have to look elsewhere to recover their losses. Enlisting the help of an experienced lawyer to file a personal injury claim against the other party’s insurance company or a car accident claim. This will increase the chances of getting insurance company offers and subsequent compensation for economic losses suffered from the motor vehicle crash. Your insurance settlement could cover damages like medical bills, future lost wages, and property damage.
Involved in a car accident? Our car accident attorneys in Palm Bay can help
If you get involved in a car accident and suffer visible injuries, contact our personal injury attorney immediately. The car accident attorneys at Alpizar Law specialize in personal injury matters and will go to bat for you. We can help review your case and prove the other party is liable for the car accident in Palm Bay, FL. Call us at 321-676-2511 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options.